Step 4: The ex-parte/temporary restraining order hearing
If you request a temporary restraining order, the clerk will give your forms to the judge for your ex parte/temporary restraining order hearing. Ex parte means that the abuser does not have to be present or given notice of the hearing. This is a preliminary hearing where the judge can grant you a temporary restraining order for 10 days.1 At this hearing, the judge will read your petition and ask you why you want a temporary restraining order. If the judge believes you have shown “good cause” that an emergency order is needed to protect your life, health, or wellbeing or the wellbeing of a victim on whose behalf you filed, the judge may grant you a temporary restraining order.2 If the judge grants a temporary restraining order, the court clerk will give you a copy of the order. Review the order before you leave the courthouse to make sure that the information is correct. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
Be sure to keep it with you at all times. You may want to keep copies in your car, workplace, or daycare. The judge will also set a hearing date for your full permanent restraining order hearing. If the judge does not grant you a temporary restraining order at the ex-parte hearing, you will may still be given a court date for a full permanent restraining order hearing (assuming your petition is not dismissed), which would be scheduled to occur within the next 10 days.3
1 VI ST T. 16 § 98(d)
2 VI ST T. 16 § 98(b)
3 VI ST T. 16 § 97(a)