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Legal Information: Illinois

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of
January 23, 2024

Step 4: Service of process

The abuser must be served with a notice of the hearing date and with any emergency or interim orders that a judge has granted you before s/he may be charged with violating the order. Generally, the sheriff or other law enforcement will serve the summons and order upon the abuser but it is also possible that a “special process server” can be appointed to serve the papers. However, in counties with a population over 3,000,000, a special process server cannot be appointed if the order of protection grants the surrender of a child, the surrender of a firearm or firearm owners identification card, or the exclusive possession of a shared residence.1

There is no charge to have law enforcement serve the abuser.2 The abuser may only be arrested for violating the order after s/he has been given notice that the order exists and is in effect.3

You can ask the court clerk or a domestic violence organization for more information about serving the abuser. Do not try and serve the abuser with the papers yourself.

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

1 750 ILCS 60/210(c)
2 750 ILCS 60/202(b)
3 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(2)