Domestic Violence cases are handled a little differently than a lot of other family cases, since there is a violence factor involved in the case. This being the case, when a domestic violence case is going to go to court, the court will first hold a hearing in order to determine whether or not a restraining order or a child custody order is needed to protect the victims in the case. During this hearing, the judge may also issue a protection order which states that the abuser is to have no contact of any kind (texts, phone calls, emails, visits, etc.) with the victim until the conflict is resolved. Also, during this hearing if the court has been able to provide proof that the abuser did in fact commit crimes of violence against the victim, and the victim has children with the abuser, the judge may order that the abuser is only allowed to see their children for short supervised visits or in some cases not at all.
Usually if the judge issues such an order at the hearing, the victim is automatically granted custody of the children for the time being, unless it is viewed by the court that the victim cannot at the current time period take care of their children and meet their needs properly.
So, if you are the victim, or what courts call the “petitioner,” you need to be prepared for the domestic violence hearing by having a detailed account of your relationship with the abuser or “respondent” (as the courts refer to the abuser), as well as photographic evidence of any injuries the respondent caused you, any medical records that may be relevant to showing proof of abuse, and proof of need of financial assistance if you are planning on suing for financial assistance from the respondent or asking the court for emergency family assistance. Proof of financial need would include documents such as pay stubs, rent receipts, gas and power bills, phone bills, etc. Having all of this documentation with you at the hearing will substantially assist your case, but it is not the only thing you need to do in order to get ready for the hearing. Being in a domestic violence situation is difficult, but sometimes it can almost be more difficult to have to confront your abuser in a court of law and have their attorney trying to make you look poorly, so you need to also prepare yourself emotionally for the hearing. Have your friends or family come with you if the judge will allow it, do breathing exercises before going into the courtroom, and mostly just try to stay calm and in control.
For more information about domestic violence hearings or domestic violence in general, visit montesfamilylaw.com.
Guillen, Lina. “Preparing For a Domestic Violence Hearing.” Divorcenet.com. Nolo, 2016. Web.
26 Feb. 2016.