What should I do on the day of the hearing?

  • Be on time.
  • Have your witnesses there and ready.
  • If you have subpoenaed witnesses and they are not come, you should let the judge know.
  • Dress neatly.
  • Speak directly to the judge; he or she will understand if you feel nervous.
  • Always address the judge as “Your Honor.”
  • Be prepared to spend all day in court. (There may be hearings before yours.)
  • If your abuser comes to court with a lawyer and you don’t have one, ask the judge for a “continuance” so you can look for a lawyer.
  • Once your case is called, enter the courtroom and find a seat. It is your right to take another seat if the abuser sits next to you, and to receive help from court staff in keeping the abuser away from you.
  • Stand when the judge enters and sit when the judge or bailiff asks you to.
  • Relax and remain calm.
  • Take deep breaths if you feel yourself getting tense. Never lose your temper in the courtroom.
  • Always tell the truth.
  • If you don’t understand a question, just say so.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. Never make up an answer.

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