Step 4: The full court hearing
You must go to this hearing if you want to get a final protective order. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over. If you do not show up at the hearing it may possibly be harder for you to be granted an order in the future. If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a long-term protective order, or the judge may order a new hearing date. If you cannot go to the hearing at the scheduled time, you may call the judge’s office to ask that your case be “continued,” but the judge may deny your request.
You may wish to hire a lawyer to help with your case, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If you show up to court and the abuser has a lawyer and you do not, you may ask the judge for a “continuance” to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself. You can also represent yourself. See the At the Hearing section for information on representing yourself. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.