1. Fill out Civil No Contact Order forms
Fill out and sign the forms listed below. Make 3 copies of each form.
- Civil No Contact Order form: Petition, summons, and order for getting someone to stay away from you and not contact you.
Your petition tells the judge what you are asking for and why. You must write about the assault you experienced. If this is too painful, seek a court advocate to help you. The judge will use the information you give in your petition to decide whether to give you the Order.
Describe the assault with details like:
- What the abuser did and said;
- The dates and time of days of the abuse or assault. If you do not remember, then give an estimate;
- Where the abuse or assault happened;
- Who saw or heard the abuse or assault. Be sure to mention if your children were there;
- How you were hurt or injured from the abuse or assault;
- If the police were called;
- How the abuse or assault made you feel; and
- If there was anything that stopped you from coming to court sooner.
Include details about what has happened most recently that made you feel like you needed protection.
If you feel that giving your home address will put you or any people you live with at a risk of abuse, do not put your address on the court papers. You do have to put an address where you can get mail in case the abuser files any court papers. You can use a P.O. Box, work address, or the address of a family member or friend.
2. File your forms with the court
After filling out your forms:
- File the forms with the circuit clerk at the courthouse in the county where the dispute happened or where the abuser lives. You may be able to file online. Check your local circuit clerk's website to see if online filing is an option. The circuit clerk will not charge you a fee to file your forms.
- The circuit clerk will stamp and keep the original forms. Have the circuit clerk also stamp the extra copies of your forms. Keep at least one copy for your records.
If you are asking for an emergency order, you will get a hearing right away without the abuser there. You should be prepared to speak to the judge the same day that you bring your forms to court.
If the judge thinks your case is an emergency situation, the judge will give you an emergency order. Emergency orders do not last for more than 3 weeks. When the judge grants an emergency order, they will also set a date for a court hearing for a plenary (long term) order. A plenary order lasts up to 2 years.
Make a few copies of the emergency order and always keep a copy of it with you.
3. Get the Sheriff to tell the other party about your case
The Sheriff will serve the petition on the abuser, along with the emergency order, if one was granted. You may need to take a copy of the papers to the Sheriff's office. The circuit clerk can tell you what to do next. The abuser must obey the order once they receive it from the Sheriff. The Sheriff does not charge a fee for delivering a copy of your court papers to the other side.
4. Go to the hearing
If you already received an emergency order, it will say when you must go to court. If you do not show up to the hearing, the judge may cancel the petition and you will have to start over. The judge may not be as willing to grant you a plenary (long-term) order if you miss your first court date.
At the hearing you may have to answer questions about what happened before the judge grants a plenary order, which can last up to 2 years. If the abuser comes to the hearing, they will have a chance to tell their side of the story. You can bring a lawyer if you wish.
If the abuser does not come to the hearing, the judge can still issue a plenary order or reschedule the hearing. If the judge reschedules the hearing, the judge will usually extend your emergency order. If the judge holds the hearing, the judge will decide whether to grant the order and for how long.
You should read the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave. Then, make copies of the order and always keep one with you. You should also give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
The court will tell the Sheriff's department about the order, which will be posted so all law enforcement agencies in Illinois know that it must be given to your abuser. The order can only be enforced after your abuser has been notified that there is an order.
You can also leave copies of the order at the following places:
- Your workplace
- At your home
- At your children's school or daycare
- In your car
- With a neighbor
- At work
If your abuser violates the order, call the police immediately and make a police report. If you do not have a copy of the order with you, an officer can check in their computer system to see if there is an order. But it is best to keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
An abuser who disobeys a Civil No Contact Order can be arrested and charged with a crime.