Step 4 - The final hearing
You must go to this hearing if you want to get a final PFA order. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will be dismissed. If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a PFA order or the judge may adjourn the case to another date. Note: If the defendant was not served by the hearing date, you must still go to court at the scheduled time. The judge will postpone the hearing and set a new date. This might happen a few times until the defendant is served.
You may wish to hire a lawyer to help with your case, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If the abuser shows up with a lawyer, you can ask the judge for a "continuance" (a later court date) so that you have time to find a lawyer. Go to ME Finding a Lawyer page under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page. You may also wish to have a domestic violence advocate accompany you to court for support. To find a program in your area, go to our ME Advocates and Shelters page.
See the Preparing your Case section under the Preparing for Court tab at the top of this page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused and for tips on representing yourself in court, pro se.