What to Expect in Court
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When you arrive for your hearing check in with court personnel.
- If the person to be restrained is also at the court, and you are worried about your safety, tell the clerk or bailiff so that they can help you.
- After you have checked in, take a seat and wait until your case is called.
- Do not talk to, confront, or argue with the restrained person if you see him or her.
Special Note: The following are general guidelines. The actual rules may be different in each court, so learn your county's local rules of court on trial procedures.
To view a short video called “Tips on Going to Court”, click here.
If the person to be restrained does not show up for the hearing, click here.
If the Restrained Person is present:
If the person to be restrained is in court, you should already have a copy of his or her:
- Answer to Temporary Restraining Order (Form DV-120)
- If he or she tries to file an "Answer" on the day of your hearing, you can ask the judge for extra time to read the form and gather extra information, witnesses, or statements from witnesses.
- If the judge sets a date for a new hearing, be sure that the judge also extends any Temporary Restraining Orders that are in effect until that new date.
When your case is called, you will be asked to come up to the tables in front of the judge. Then the judge will ask each of you to give your name for the court record. At this point, many judges will ask a few questions to help them understand what has happened. Since this hearing is the result of your request for a Restraining Order, you will be asked to testify first.
- If you have statements from witnesses (called "declarations") or documents to show, be sure to give them to the bailiff to give to the judge at the time during the hearing when you think the information will make the most sense.
- Once you have finished, the person to be restrained will have the chance to ask you or any of your witnesses questions about what was said.
Then it is the restrained person's turn to tell his or her side of the story, present witnesses, and to show whatever documents he or she thinks are important. Once they have finished, you will have a chance to ask the person to be restrained, and his or her witnesses, questions.
At the end of the hearing, the judge will either:
- tell you of his or her decision while you are both present in court, or
- tell you that he or she will decide the case later (perhaps after reviewing the evidence in more detail).
If your request for Restraining Order is granted:
- Ask the judge to tell you how long your Restraining Order will last, so that you can fill that part in on the "Restraining Order After Hearing" form.
- Then, ask the clerk if you may hand your proposed "Restraining Order After Hearing" form, and any attachments, like the "Child Custody and Visitation Order Attachment," to the clerk to give to the judge.
- If the judge grants all of the Orders you asked for, and your form was filled out properly, the judge will sign and return it.
If you asked for child support, be sure you take notes on:
- How much the child support is for each child;
- When the child support starts; and
- Whether extra amounts are added for childcare, uninsured health care costs, or other items.
- If the child support was figured out on the court's computer, ask for a copy of the printout.
If the judge denies or changes some of the Orders you asked for, he or she will tell you if you need to fill out new forms.
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