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Seeking a protective order for Dallas residents (part 2)

Once a person has made an application for a protective order, the court will schedule a hearing, typically to be held about two weeks out from the date of the application. The idea of attending this hearing can be a frightening prospect for victims of abusive partners, whether they are married or unmarried couples. Let's take a look at what you should know and what you can to do prepare for the hearing, according to the Texas Attorney General's website.

First of all, try to gather evidence that supports your claims of abuse. This may include medical records, photographs, even clothing damaged by the abuser. Witnesses can also help your case by testifying on your behalf; ask any neighbors, friends, family members or even police officers who have firsthand knowledge of your experience to attend. You should also bring financial records.

You should be ready to answer questions at the hearing. These may be posed by the judge, your partner or his or her attorney. It's important to answer slowly, completely and truthfully; if you don't understand a question, you can say so. It's a good idea to bring a list of the orders you are asking for (regarding property or child custody, for example); if you get nervous, you can just read them off the list.

If the judge agrees to sign an order of protection, ask the court clerk for copies. Keep one with you, and bring the others to places where your children go during the day (school, day care or someone else's care, for example). You'll need copies if your abuser violates the order and you have to call the police.

This can be a stressful process, but it is likely to be a turning point in your move to a safe, independent life for you and your children. A family law professional can help you present a strong case and may even be able to ease some of the anxiety you might otherwise experience trying to go it alone.

Source: Texas Attorney General, "Protective Order Kit," accessed on May 29, 2015

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