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If you need to change anything that you put in your TOP, you can ask the Judge for permission to change it during the hearing. For example, if you forgot to check the box to include your work as a protected place. We have more information about hearings below, or you can read our article on what happens in an Order of Protection Hearing.

The requirements for an Order of Protection change depending on your relationship to the Respondent. If the Respondent is your family member, ex, or partner, then you must show the Court:. The law says that you may be eligible because you are a victim of partner family member assault. Example 2 : Your partner has never been charged with a crime. But your partner has harmed you, or threatened to harm you, and says they will do it again.

You have never reported any abuse or threats of abuse from your partner to the police. You will need to show the Judge that it is reasonable to be afraid of physical harm from the Respondent. You also must show that you are in danger if the Court does not give you an Order of Protection. You can see what the law requires for an Order of Protection in M.


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You do not need to have any kind of relationship with the Respondent if you are the victim of:. It is not necessary that the Respondent has been criminally charged with one of crimes listed above. It would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer if the Respondent has not been charged with one of the crimes listed above. You can find the law that lists all of the crimes where you do not need to have any relationship with the Respondent to be eligible for an Order of Protection at M.

The b is the subsection. The first thing you should do is prepare yourself for seeing your abuser in the courtroom. You can talk with trusted friends or family members to help you get ready to see your abuser again. It is a good idea to talk to a crime victim advocate in your area.

An Order of Protection hearing can be stressful and scary.


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You can make it less hard by completing a checklist of things to do before the hearing. You can learn more about how to represent yourself in an Order of Protection hearing. Some courthouses have more than one courtroom.

Filing For Divorce Without A Lawyer

You want to make sure that you go to the right courtroom. The courthouse might have a board saying which Judge will be in which courtroom. If you cannot find out which courtroom you are in, you can ask a Clerk of Court. There may be several hearings happening in the same courtroom as yours. You will need to wait in the courtroom patiently until your case number is called.

The other hearings may take a while. Once your case is called, go into the courtroom and find a seat. It is your right to take another seat if the Respondent sits next to you. You can ask the court staff for help in keeping the Respondent away from you. If the Respondent does not show up at the hearing, the Judge may grant you an Order of Protection without any evidence beyond what you put in your Temporary Order of Protection TOP paperwork.

The Judge may still ask you to present your evidence to the Court so they can have it on record. If the Respondent shows up and agrees that you should get an Order of Protection, the Judge may give you one without the need for more evidence. If the Respondent shows up to the hearing with a lawyer, you may ask the court for a "continuance", which means that the hearing will be rescheduled for a later date. You can ask for this extra time so that you can try to find a lawyer to help you. At a contested hearing, both the Petitioner and the Respondent will be able to share their side of the story and present their evidence to the Court.

For example, if you forgot to check the box to include your work as a protected place, you can ask to do so during the hearing.


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  • Read through the Order of Protection to make sure everything is correct. The Clerk of Court must give a copy of the Order of Protection to the appropriate law enforcement agencies within 24 hours. But in some areas, you may be responsible for taking the order to law enforcement. You can ask the clerk about their policy for giving that information to the law enforcement. It is a good idea to find out when law enforcement enters the Order of Protection into their database. The database helps law enforcement from different agencies find out about Orders of Protection so they can act quickly if needed.

    That might mean waiting in the courtroom until the Respondent leaves.

    Related Information

    You can have a friend or advocate walk you to your car or ride. An Order of Protection is a court order. You can help you and your family be more safe by coming up with a safety plan. A Hope Card is a wallet-sized version of an Order of Protection. It has a picture of the Respondent on it. The Hope Card lets law enforcement in any jurisdiction know that you have a valid, permanent Order of Protection. This may help if there is ever an emergency. Learn more about how to apply for a Hope Card.

    The Address Confidentiality Program can help you keep your address safe from the Respondent. Learn more about how to apply for the Address Confidentiality Program. The Crime Victim Compensation Fund helps victims with their crime-related medical costs.

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    Learn more about the victim compensation fund. CVAs give free, confidential help and services to crime victims. You can find a crime victim advocate near you. Learn more about coming up with a safety plan. It is a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence shelters or CVA in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe.

    Who May Appeal a Divorce Decree?

    They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. You may also be able to reapply for an Order of Protection if you have new evidence to show the court that abuse did occur. You may also reapply if the Respondent abuses or threatens to abuse you again after the hearing.

    Adoption Consent Laws by State

    If you think the Court made a mistake by not giving you an Order of Protection, talk to a lawyer right away. It might be helpful to save that number in your phone. When the police arrive, it is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer s and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.

    Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have police reports of all violations of the order it may help if you need to ask the court to extend or change the order. It can be a crime each time the Respondent breaks the order.