Domestic Violence Laws in Chicago – What is a “Family or Household Member”?
The unfortunate reality in Chicago and throughout the world is that some relationships and marriages are abusive. Whether a relationship has always been one fraught with domestic violence, or one spouse has slowly become abusive over time, domestic violence is extremely dangerous in a relationship or marriage, and can lead to serious injury or death. When a person seeks to use laws in Chicago to protect themselves from domestic violence, however, they may find obtaining an order of protection to be a highly complex and confusing process. Indeed, Chicago domestic violence laws may be difficult to navigate without knowledge about the law and experience with Chicago domestic violence cases. One element of obtaining an order of protection under Illinois domestic violence cases in Chicago is the requirement that the person seeking the order of protection was abused by a “family or household member.” But what does this mean in the context of Chicago domestic violence laws?
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 and “Family or Household Member”
Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, persons are protected under the act and can seek an order of protection if they are “any person abused by a family or household member.” Although a plain reading of the language of the act may appear to allow for a person seeking an order of protection to seek one for abuse committed by anyone in the household, the Act goes on to further define what a “family or household member” is under the law. Under the Act, “family or household members include “spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and caregivers [as defined under the law]”. The Act further clarifies that “…neither a casual acquaintanceship nor ordinary fraternization between 2 individuals in business or social contexts shall be deemed to constitute a dating relationship.”
Help with an Order of Protection in Your Chicago Domestic Violence Case
If you are experiencing domestic violence in your marriage or relationship in Chicago, it is important to speak with an experienced Chicago domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible about your rights, options, and next steps. Domestic violence can escalate rapidly, so learning about your rights and options and how to protect yourself as soon as possible is critical to your safety. In addition, if you feel unsafe and in danger, it is advisable to contact local law enforcement to protect yourself from injury or death due to domestic violence.
The experienced Chicago domestic violence lawyers at the law firm Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC are here to help you seek an order of protection in your Chicago domestic violence case. Contact Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC and speak to an experienced Chicago domestic violence lawyer in confidence about your rights and options today.