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Legal Information: Illinois

Restraining Orders

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January 23, 2024

What are the steps involved with getting a civil no contact order?

The steps to get a civil no contact order are similar to the steps to get an order of protection, but you may fill out different paperwork. The petition can be filed in person or online.1 

If you have questions, you can call the clerk of court or talk to a lawyer.  You can find the contact information for local courthouses on the IL Courthouse Locations page and for lawyers on the IL Finding a Lawyer page.

1 740 ILCS 22/202(a-1)

Will the abuser be notified when I file for an order?

Typically, the abuser would not be notified before you get an emergency order, but the abuser must be served with your petition and the order before your hearing for the plenary no contact order. If you get an emergency order, the clerk will enter the order on the record and file it according to court procedures by the following business day. The clerk will also provide a stamped copy of the order to you and to the abuser if the abuser was present at the emergency hearing.1

You or the clerk may also file the order with law enforcement so that an officer can serve the abuser with a copy of the order. If you are unsure whether you should bring the order to law enforcement or whether the clerk will, you can ask the clerk. A law enforcement officer or process server will attempt to serve the order and file proof of service unless the respondent was present at the hearing for the emergency order and was served with a copy there.2 At your request, the clerk can also send written notice of the order and a copy of the order to your school.3

1 740 ILCS 22/218(a)
2 740 ILCS 22/218(b),(c)
3 740 ILCS 22/218(f)

Do I have to provide my address to file for an order?

If providing your address would put you or your family members at risk of further abuse, you do not have to reveal your address in your petition. However, you must provide an address where you can receive mail so that you can be served with any court paperwork.1

1 740 ILCS 22/203(b)

Do I need a lawyer to help me?

You do not need a lawyer to file for a civil no contact order however it is often best to have a lawyer represent you who is knowledgeable about sexual assault to make sure that your rights are protected. If you cannot find a lawyer, the judge may appoint a lawyer to represent you if the abuser is represented by a lawyer.1 To find a legal services organization near you, go to our IL Finding a Lawyer page.

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

1 740 ILCS 22/204.3

Will I have to face the abuser in court?

The abuser must have the opportunity to appear in court and present his/her evidence and testimony before you can receive a plenary order; but if the abuser decides not to show up, you can still get a plenary order. However, if the judge believes that testifying in the courtroom in front of the abuser and others may cause you serious emotional distress, the judge can question you in the judge’s chambers. Your lawyer and the abuser’s lawyer will be present for the judge’s questioning unless all parties agree that the lawyers do not need to be present.1

1 740 ILCS 22/215.5