When appearing before a judge:
- Always be on time.
- If possible, bring any evidence you have. Evidence can include but is not limited to medical reports, pictures, torn or dirty clothes, pulled hair, broken items, and a copy of the defendant's criminal record or anything else to help convince the judge that you need court protection. You should also mention that a police report(s) was filed.
- Speak directly to the judge. Tell your story in your own words. You may look at any notes you have.
- Be courteous. Do not argue or lose your temper.
- If you cannot make it to your hearing, call the Clerk's Office ahead of time. The clerk may give you another court date or you may lose your chance to go before the judge.
- If you asked for an Ex Parte Order, the hearings may be very short and may take place just after you file your papers. You do not usually have witnesses at this hearing. The judge may want you to tell why you believe that you or your children are in danger and why you need immediate protection.
- If the judge rules in your favor, the judge will sign an Ex Parte Domestic Violence Protective Order.
- Before you leave the courthouse, find out the date and time for your Domestic Violence Protective Order hearing and get a copy of the Ex Parte Order. The clerk will deliver the papers to the Sheriff for service on the defendant.