Step 5: The final hearing
The judge will set a final hearing date usually within 7 days of when you filed your petition.1 You must go to the hearing if you want to keep your protective order. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary protective order will expire and you will have to start the process over again.
If the abuser has received notice of the hearing, but does not show up, the judge may continue with the hearing anyway.2 The temporary order will usually only last until the hearing, but it may be extended in some situations. For example, if the abuser has not received notice of the hearing and does not show up, the judge may order a new hearing date and extend your temporary restraining order for a period of up to 6 months to allow for service.3
Note: A case can be continued (postponed) if there is “good cause” to do so.1 If the court does issue a continuance, the judge should also reissue or extend your temporary order since your original one will probably expire before the rescheduled hearing.
Generally, it is a good idea to have a lawyer represent you, especially if you think the abuser will have one. Go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals. If you are going to be representing yourself, see the Preparing Your Case page for tips.
1 MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-506(b)(1)(ii)
2 MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-506(c)(1)
3 MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-505(c)(2)