Step 1: Go to the superior court and fill out the forms.
Go to the courthouse to fill out and file the appropriate forms. To find the contact information for the superior court, go to our GU Courthouse Locations page. You can ask the court clerk for the forms but if you want to look at the forms ahead of time, go to our GU Download Court Forms page. On the forms, you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be the “respondent.” Write briefly about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language - words like “slapping,” hitting,” “grabbing,” threatening,” etc. - that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible.
If you have trouble filling out the forms, you may want to ask an advocate at a local domestic violence organization or you can consult with an attorney. To find help in your area, go to our GU Places that Help page.
Remember to bring some form of personal identification (a driver’s license or other identification that includes your picture) in case you need to show it to the court clerk when you sign the forms.
Step 2: A judge will review your petition and can issue you a temporary order
After you finish filling out your application, bring it back to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to the judge. The judge can issue you an order ex parte (without the abuser being notified beforehand or being present in court) if the judge believes that notifying the abuser ahead of time would further endanger the safety and welfare of you and/or minor child/ren. However, if the abuser is already represented by an attorney, then the attorney may need to be notified beforehand.1 After you file your petition, the judge may ask you some questions at an ex parte hearing. (However, if you are not in court but rather your attorney is filing the papers for you, the judge can still issued the temporary order.) The order will last for up to 10 days until the case is set down for a “show cause hearing.”2
1 MR 2.1.3(A)(1),(3)
2 MR 2.1.3(A)(4),(B)(4),(5)
Step 3: Service of process
The Marshals Division of the Superior Court of Guam will serve all orders of protection and “show cause orders” if the court requests it (or if you request it). You or your attorney will have to provide detailed information on the whereabouts of the respondent. If the respondent is incarcerated, the court may ask you about the date of his/her arrest to pass that information along to the marshal.1
1 M.R 2.1.5
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?
Step 4: The "show cause hearing" for a permanent order
All “show cause hearings” are supposed to be scheduled within 10 calendar days after your temporary order is issued and heard by the Family Violence Court judge. If the respondent does not appear, s/he can possibly be held in contempt and/or the case can continue “by default.” If the respondent does appear, s/he may ask for a continuance in order to find an attorney and the judge can postpone the hearing for a “reasonable” period of time. During the continuance, your temporary order can be modified (changed) or can continue as-is (and a judge may possibly even make it permanent during this time).1
At the “show cause hearing,” you will have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the things you alleged in your petition. A preponderance of the evidence basically means that it is more likely than not that you are telling the truth - so, in other words, the judge can believe you 51% and believe the respondent 49% and you can still win. If the judge grants you an order, it will indicate on the order how long it lasts for. The law says that the judge can order it for “such periods as authorized by law.” Another option is that there can be a consent agreement issued, where the respondent agrees to the order without having to go through a whole hearing or trial.2
1 MR 2.1.3(B)(2)-(4)
2 MR 2.1.3(B)(5)