Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is any behavior — whether physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual — used for the purpose to gain power and control over a person whether it be a spouse, partner, or a family member. Our team adopts a careful trauma-informed approach to mitigate the effects of domestic violence on survivors and their families.

Services Offered

Orders of Protection (Emergency/Plenary)

NSLAC offers assistance in obtaining court orders signed by a judge and enforced by the police to help protect against abuse or harassment by a partner immediately (Emergency) and/or long term (plenary).

Other Civil Restraining Orders (Stalking, No Contact)

NSLAC offers assistance in obtaining court orders signed by a judge to help protect against stalking, harassment, or unwanted contact from an abuser.

Safety Plans

NSLAC is ready to assist in making the arrangements necessary to escape an abusive living situation.

Family Law Matters Related to Domestic Violence

We are able to assist in family law matters where domestic violence is present.

Divorce and Parentage

We offer legal representation and guidance in cases of divorce or paternity/maternity when domestic violence is present.

Allocation of Parental Time and Parental Responsibility

We offer legal representation and guidance in disputes over a parent’s involvement when domestic violence is present.

Child Support

We offer legal representation and guidance for individuals seeking or responding to requests for child support when domestic violence is present.

Allocation and Support Modifications

We offer legal representation and guidance for individuals in attempting to change court orders regarding parental time and responsibilities when domestic violence is present.

Immigration (Violence Against Women Act Self-Petition & U Visa)

We offer legal representation and guidance for individuals seeking to gain citizenship when they are also victims of abuse. We work closely with the immigration team and information on qualifications can be found on the immigration webpage.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is domestic violence? How do I know if I am being abused?

Domestic violence is defined broadly under the law. It obviously includes physical harm but also mental, emotional, and financial harm. If you do not feel safe physically or emotionally at home or in your relationship, you could be being abused.

How can the law help me?

The law can help in a few ways. For anyone that feels in immediate danger of harm, you can ask the court for an emergency order of protection for you and anyone else in your household. An emergency order of protection requires the abuser to stay 500 feet away from you, your home and your place of employment and prohibits the abuser from contacting you in any way (phone, email, social media).

What type of domestic violence cases do you take?

Under the grants that fund the Clinic, we can take any civil order of protection or family law case that involves domestic violence.

What if I don’t live in your service area?

We will do our best to find you an attorney in your area if we cannot take your case because you live outside of our service territory.

Can you handle my divorce?

We handle many divorce and parentage cases in family courts in Lake and northern Cook Counties.

Can you help me with custody of my child/children?

Yes we can.

I am concerned about my immigration status. Can you still help me?

Yes we can. We will help regardless of your immigration status. We have an Immigration Law Practice that can help with your immigration concerns.

Do you handle criminal cases?

We do not handle criminal cases.

What if the abuse happened a while ago but now I feel like I need protection or want to take action?

We would be happy to talk to you about what your options are now and plan with you to protect yourself.

How do I apply for services with NSLAC?

All requests for assistance are confidential and accepted by telephone at (847) 737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. Phones are answered during business hours.

How do you determine if I am eligible for legal help?

For the Domestic Violence Law Practice, we only screen for a history of domestic violence to be able to help you. We do not have an income requirement.

Is there a charge for the services I receive?

No. We are a completely pro bono legal aid clinic.

What if I am not safe?

Call 911 and/or get to a safe place immediately.

  • If possible, take your children and important documents with you such as your birth certificate, passport, social security cards, Medicaid or health insurance cards, ATM cards and bank account numbers, and the lease or deed to your home.
  • Safety Planning is very important. The following domestic violence hotlines and local shelters can help you come up with a plan.
How do I contact you if I am afraid or in danger? I am afraid that my abuser will find out that I am looking up domestic violence resources on the internet. What can I do?

An abuser can track your computer use in many ways, such as accessing your email inbox and sent mail as well as looking at a history of the web sites you visit. You may want to use a "safe" computer he or she cannot access at a library, community center or a friend's home.

Do you cover court or other fees?

We do not but we often request fee waivers from the court to excuse our clients’ obligation to pay court fees.

Do you help seek shelter and other services?

Yes! We partner with many community social services agencies to help meet other needs of our clients’.

Banana Bread Help

Do you or someone you know need help, but need to access information in a more discreet manner? Check out BananaBreadHelp.com. This special banana bread recipe includes important information about domestic violence and informational videos including knowing the signs of domestic violence, how to get help, and the intersection of domestic violence with immigration and housing. No one should live in fear or danger. The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic is here to help. For questions please be in touch at info@NSLegalAid.org or (847) 737-4042.

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