Orders of protection are governed under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. The Act was created to raise awareness of domestic violence as a serious crime against the individual and society, and to offer more protections to victims of domestic violence by issuing court orders prohibiting abuse and/or prosecuting abusers. To find out more information about the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, see 750 ILCS 60/101 et seq. To find information on how to file an order of protection click here.

The information provided below is not intended to be viewed as legal advice and is only intended to answer general questions regarding the Illinois Domestic Violence Act and to explain the role of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County in obtaining orders of protection. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, we strongly encourage you to seek legal advice.


Who is protected under this Act?

To be protected by the IDVA, a victim of abuse must have a “family or household relationship” with person who is abusing him or her.

Under the IDVA, the following persons are considered family or household members:

(i) parties related by blood or by present or prior marriage;

(ii) parties who share or formerly shared a common dwelling (a romantic relationship is not required);

(iii) parties who have or allegedly have a child in common;

(iv) parties who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child (includes in-laws);

(v) parties have or have had a dating or engagement relationship;

(vi) a person with disabilities and his or her personal assistant or caregiver.

The following persons can be listed on the order of protection as protected persons:

  • anyone who lives in the petitioner’s household;
  • any minor child or dependent adult in the petitioner’s care;
  • persons employed at the residence; and/or
  • employees of a domestic violence program where a protected person resides.

Who may file for an Order of Protection

A petition for an order of protection may be filed only by those persons who:

(i) are being abused by a family or household member;

(ii) are filing it on behalf of a minor child or adult who is being abused by a family or household member, and who, because of age, health, disability, or inaccessibility, cannot file the petition on their own;

(iii) are filing it on behalf of a high-risk adult with disabilities who has been abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member.

Where may I file my petition for an Order of Protection?

A petition for an order of protection will be heard as its own separate proceeding if no other case is pending. If you have another civil (ie. marital/civil union dissolution, parentage, or child support case) or criminal matter pending, typically the order of protection will be heard with your pending case.

If filing an order of protection in conjunction with a pending civil matter, then you should file it at the Clerk’s office in the courthouse where your pending case is being heard. The State’s Attorney will handle filing an order of protection if it is in conjunction with a criminal proceeding. Any independent order of protection can be filed at any of the suburban courthouses. However, if filing the petition in downtown Chicago, then you should file it at the Circuit Court of Cook County dedicated Domestic Violence courthouse, located at 555 W. Harrison that hears all independent orders of protection. For more information about filing an independent order of protection, please see the Domestic Violence Division.

How much does it cost to file for an Order of Protection?

There are no costs involved for filing an order of protection.

What if I cannot afford to hire an attorney?

There are several legal assistance agencies that represent victims of domestic violence. Please contact one of the agencies below to see if you qualify for free legal services:

Life Span Center for Legal Services & Advocacy:

ph: 312/408-1210


Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago:

ph: 312/341-1070


Domestic Violence Legal Clinic:

ph: 312/325-9155

Where may I find the documents that I need to file an Order of Protection?

If you know which forms are needed for your protective order, you may access them here.

The Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court also has an interactive program on its web site that can assist you in filling out your forms.  To access this helpful online program, click here.

You will be guided through filling out the papers step by step.  The program also allows you to print out the completed forms to take with you to file at the courthouse.

Copyright 2020 by Circuit Court of Cook County