Will I have to face the abuser in court?
You may or may not have to face the abuser in court. A judge can issue you an order of protection without a full court hearing and without the abuser present. To determine whether the order requested should be issued without a further hearing, the judge will review:
- your petition;
- any other “pleadings,” which are documents in which either party makes or responds to allegations; and
- any evidence offered by you, including any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication.1
If the judge issues you an order of protection without the abuser present, the abuser will be served with a copy of the order of protection against him/her. Your order will go into effect as soon as s/he is served with a copy of the order. Your order will last for two years from when the abuser is served.2
The abuser has the right to request a hearing at any time during the year your order is in effect to ask the judge to change of cancel the order of protection. If s/he does request a court hearing, you must attend that hearing and you may have to face the abuser in court. If you do not go to the hearing, a judge may dismiss your order of protection, also known as “quashing the order”.3
If the abuser does not request a court hearing, you might not have to go back to court. However, you may have additional court hearings if you want to change your order of protection or if the abuser violates the order. The abuser may come to those hearings.
Note: If the judge does not give you the order of protection when you file your petition, the judge could set the case down for further court hearings in order to decide whether or not to issue the order of protection. If this happens, a hearing may be scheduled within 10 days and the court will notify the abuser of the court date.4 The abuser has a right to appear in court for the hearing date(s) to fight against the order being issued.
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(E)
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(N)
3 A.R.S. § 13-3602(L)
4 A.R.S. § 13-3602(F)