Step 4: The hearing
When you first filed your petition, you would have received a date to return to court for a hearing. You must go to that hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over. It may be helpful to have a lawyer at the hearing to make sure that your rights are protected, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If when you go to the hearing, the respondent (abuser) has a lawyer, you have the right to request that the hearing be delayed so that you can get a lawyer as well. Also, the law says that if the judge believes that it is necessary for both parties to be represented by lawyers, the judge can enter an order to ensure that lawyers are retained. The order may require either you or respondent (or both) to pay for the attorneys’ fees.1 If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can try to get a lawyer through a local legal services organization if you qualify. Go to ID Finding a Lawyer for legal referrals. If you cannot get a lawyer and will be representing yourself, see our Preparing Your Case page for tips on representing yourself.
If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a protection order or the judge may order a new hearing date.
1 I.C. § 39-6306(1)