If someone takes out an order of protection against you, you’ll probably have a lot of questions—including how to read it and what each section means.

An order of protection is a long document—it’s 13 pages in all—and some of the language it uses can be confusing.

The main thing you need to know is that if a judge has signed an order of protection, you’re legally obligated to follow what it says; if you violate it, you could end up going to jail, paying fines, and facing other penalties.

How to Read an Order of Protection

The first page of an order of protection includes information about the petitioner (the person who is filing the order against you) and you (the respondent).

At the bottom of the first page, you’ll see boxes that may be checked in front of the following instructions:

  • You are prohibited from further acts/threats of abuse on protected persons
  • You are ordered to stay away from the petitioner and/or other protected personsHow to Read an Order of Protection in Illinois

There’s also a box that says whether the Circuit Clerk is required to send notices to a daycare or school, as well as a firearms notice.

Finally, on the end of the first page, you’ll see a date and time. That’s when you can stop following the protective order (unless another one is entered against you, or the judge has issued another type of order).

The second page of an order of protection warns you that you must obey the order.

On Pages 3 through 10, you’ll see the court’s findings and instructions on how you’re supposed to follow the order. If the boxes are checked near prohibited behaviors, such as harassment, neglect, or exploitation, these are behaviors you may not engage in.

There’s also a section called “Remedies Involving Children.” If you share kids with the person who petitioned the court for an order of protection against you, this part of the document outlines the custody and visitation agreement you’ll have to adhere to for the duration of the order.

The judge signs on Page 11, where you’ll also see the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s signature and date.

Has Someone Filed for an Order of Protection Against You?

If someone has filed for an order of protection against you, you may find it helpful to talk to a domestic violence defense lawyer in Chicago who can help you.

Call us at 847-920-4540 right away. We’ll give you a free case evaluation so you can begin the process of moving forward with your life.

(You can find a sample copy of an order of protection here.)