If you fear that someone you live with, the other parent of your child, or someone you have dated may physically harm you or your children, you can file a restraining order. If you don't know where the abuser lives, do not let this hamper you from protecting yourself and your children. The court can still proceed with the restraining-order hearing even if you don't know how to contact the abuser.
Visit the courthouse in the county where you live or where the abuse took place. Ask the clerk to help you fill out a form for Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order. If you are afraid that you and your children are in immediate danger from your abuser, also fill out an Ex Parte Order. This order goes to the judge right away so that you can get immediate protection. You will have to fill out a petition asking the court to give you a restraining order, and an affidavit stating what happened that caused you to need the order.
Sign the forms in front of the clerk and turn them in to him. Tell the clerk that you do not know where the abuser lives. The clerk may ask you to fill out an affidavit to this effect. He will also arrange for legal notice to be published in a local newspaper. If you requested an immediate order, the clerk will bring it to the judge to sign.
Obtain a hearing date from the court clerk. You will have to attend a hearing within 14 days even if you obtained an emergency order, to determine whether to make the order permanent.
File a police report for any incidents of abuse if you haven't already. Take pictures of injuries or damage to your property. Get a copy of medical reports from your doctor if you received medical treatment. If anyone witnessed the abuse, ask them if they would be willing to testify at the hearing.
Attend the hearing. Bring your evidence with you. If your abuser does not show up, the judge is likely to give you a permanent restraining order, but you must have evidence supporting your claims in either case. The judge will decide whether to grant you a restraining order or dismiss your case. The fact that you do not know where the abuser lives has no bearing on the judge's decision.
- Make sure you attend your hearing. If you do not, the judge may dismiss your case.
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