How Can You Prepare For A Domestic Violence Hearing

Domestic Assault Attorney in Grand Rapids, MI

The results of a domestic violence hearing will decide whether a temporary restraining order or child custody order is needed. Since the safety of you and other family members depends on this hearing, it’s important you gather the necessary evidence of abuse to prove your case. 

In this blog post, you will learn how to prepare for your upcoming domestic violence hearing. An experienced attorney will also be able to help you build a case against your abuser.

1. Get Help If Needed

If you’re preparing for a domestic violence hearing, chances are you’ve already spoken with a lawyer about your situation. However, if you want or need more support, there are people ready and willing to assist.

Reach out to family and friends, start seeing a counselor, or consider joining a support group for other abuse survivors. If you call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, they can connect you with resources that will help you heal. 

2. Document Injuries

Out of the different types of domestic violence, physical abuse is less difficult to prove. To make a case for physical abuse, you’ll need to make sure you have photographic evidence of your injuries. 

Be prepared to give the court specific details about each injury, such as the date, time, and where the incident occurred. If you have any hospital records of serious injuries, make sure you have them ready to present to the court. Since abuse allegations rely mostly on testimony, the more evidence you have of the abuse, the better. 

If you are still living with your abuser, make sure to store your evidence at a trusted family member or friend’s house. If you have been isolated from your support system, keep the evidence at work or in a safety deposit box. Your domestic violence attorney can also keep photographic evidence locked in their office in extreme cases.

3. Contact Witnesses

A domestic violence lawyer will be able to serve witnesses subpoenas. All a subpoena does is order a witness to show up and testify at your domestic violence hearing. Potential witnesses of the abuse could be family members, friends, co-workers, police officers, doctors, or emergency room nurses. 

Anyone who saw the signs of domestic violence is an effective witness. Your case grows stronger with each witness that confirms your abuse allegations.

4. Know What Courts Can Do

During a domestic violence hearing, a judge will decide whether you and your children need legal protective orders to stay safe from an abuser. If you have minor children with your abuser, the judge may also decide to grant you full custody. 

However, in most cases the abuser is still allowed to see their children during supervised visits. Only rarely will a parent be completely cut off from their children.

A temporary restraining order prevents an abuser from:

  • Contacting you in any way
  • Coming within a certain distance of your home
  • Coming within a certain distance of your workplace

5. Practice Telling Your Story

It is important to be honest when you take the stand. However, you’ll also be responsible for remembering specific details such as the date and time of a physical assault or the words your abuser said to you. 

Depending on the laws in your state, you may be able to reference your notes (not read from them). However, you must have all the important facts memorized if the judge rules against having notes on the stand.

Most domestic violence victims have never gotten the opportunity to talk about what they lived through, which is why it’s important to make sure you practice telling your story. Going over the facts in your head beforehand may also help you remember new details that support your case. A domestic assault attorney can also help you prepare for testifying so you know what to expect.

Need a Domestic Violence Attorney?

Our Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney has experience helping clients get out of abusive situations. Attorney Jerry Beurkens will understand your concerns and aggressively defend your right to be safe. If you are interested in setting up an appointment, call our law firm at (616) 459-5344. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also available at 1-800-799-7233.

This blog post has been updated.

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