Step 5: The hearing for the permanent protection order
You must attend the hearing, on the day and time indicated on the summons, in order to ask the judge to extend your ex parte protection order (valid for 20 days) or to ask him/her to grant a permanent protection order for a period the court deems necessary.
If you do not attend, your ex parte order will be nullified and you will have to start the whole process all over again. If you do not attend the hearing, the judge may decide that you do not need the protection order and it may be more difficult for you to obtain an order in the future.
It may be a good idea to have an attorney to represent you at the hearing, especially if you think the abuser will have one, but even if s/he will not. If the abuser shows up with an attorney, you can ask for a continuance (a hearing on another day) so that you have time to get an attorney for your case. To find an attorney in your area, go to our PR Finding a Lawyer page. If you cannot get a lawyer, you can call a domestic violence organization to see if they can help you find an advocate who can accompany you - see PR Advocates and Shelters for contact information. If you have to represent yourself, see the section At the Hearing to learn how to prove to the judge that you were abused.