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Getting a Protective Order: Get Ready for Court

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Don’t miss your hearing!

If you miss it, your Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order may end and you will have to start from the beginning.

Get ready.
  • Fill out a Protective Order before you go to court and bring it with you. 
  • Bring any evidence you have, like photographs, medical records, torn clothing. Also bring witnesses who know about the violence, like a neighbor, relative or police. The judge may ask them to testify. 
  • If you had a Protective Order in the past, bring a copy of it. 
  • Bring proof of your and the other person’s income and expenses, like bills, paycheck stubs, bank accounts, tax returns. 
  • If the Proof of Service was returned to you, file it with the clerk and bring a copy to court. 
    • Proof of Service is a document that shows when and where the other person was given a copy of the Application for Protective Order.
Get there 30 minutes early.
  • Find the courtroom.
  • When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer that you are present.
  • Watch the other cases so you will know what to do.
  • When your name is called, go to the front of the courtroom.
What if I don’t speak English?

When you file your papers, tell the clerk you will need an interpreter. Ask the court clerk if you qualify for any free interpretation services. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, a protected person, or a witness to interpret for you.

What if I am deaf?

When you file your papers, ask for an interpreter or other accommodation.

What if I need child support or visitation orders?
What if I am afraid?

If you don’t feel safe, call your local family crisis center or the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)

Practice what you want to say.

Make a list of the orders you want and practice saying them. Do not take more than 3 minutes to say what you want. If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from your list. Use that list to see if the judge has made every order you asked for.

The judge may ask questions.

The other person or his or her lawyer may also ask you questions. Tell the truth. Speak slowly. Give complete answers. If you don’t understand, say, “I don’t understand the question.”

Speak only to the judge unless it is your turn to ask questions. When people are talking to the judge, wait for them to finish. Then you can ask questions about what they said.

What happens after the hearing?

If the judge agrees you need protection, the judge will sign your Protective Order.

Take your signed order to the court clerk. Ask for copies of your order (or make extra copies) and keep one with you at all times.

Make sure copies of your order are sent to your children’s daycare, babysitter, school, and to the other person’s military superior, if they have one. If the other person violates the order, call the police and show them your order.