In 1986, the Illinois State Legislature enacted the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, 750 ILCS 60/101. The purpose of the Act is to prevent a person from being harmed or abused. The Act allows a person relief through civil courts versus having to go through the criminal court system. The Act provides protection for married and unmarried parties. An action may be brought under the Act as either an independent action or in conjunction with a divorce proceeding. The Domestic Violence Act requires a lower burden of proof than does the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. In an action under the Domestic Violence Act, the Petitioner must show abuse and harassment; that there is a likelihood that the abuse will continue unless the Respondent is prohibited from those actions; and that the balance of hardship weighs in favor of the Petitioner.
When you file an action for relief under the Domestic Violence Act, you are asking the court to issue an “Order of Protection” enforceable, if it is violated, with either civil or criminal penalties. The relief requested can be for the Petitioner as well as other protected persons, such as children or disabled adults. A summary of the remedies that may be obtained under the Act, 750 ILCS 214/60(b), are: