Page 41 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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36
PROCEDURE FOR GETTING A RESTRAINING ORDER
Do I need an attorney?
It is possible to go to court and get a
restraining order without an
attorney. However, if you have
children with your partner or if you
and he own property together, then
a lawyer's advice is very important.
You have the right to ask the
court for a restraining order, even
if you don't have an attorney. If
you go to court on your own you
can bring someone with you to
give you support. Remember to
ask questions if there are things
you don't understand. Many
people go to court without an
attorney and get the court orders
they need.
If I want an attorney how do I find
one?
If you have little or no income you
may qualify for a legal aid attorney.
However, not all legal aid agencies
have attorneys that do restraining
order cases. Call Statewide Legal
Services at 1-800-453-3320 to find
out if one of the legal services
programs can help you.
Statewide Legal Services provides
legal help by phone. Staff at
Statewide Legal Services may give
you legal advice over the phone,
mail information to you, or refer you
to one of the legal services offices.
Some domestic violence agencies
can provide referrals to attorneys
who have an understanding of
domestic abuse and restraining
orders.
How much will an attorney cost?
Legal aid charges nothing for their
attorneys' work. Other attorneys’
fees can range from several hundred
to several thousand dollars. Some
attorneys will want the money
before they will help you. Other
attorneys will let you pay later or
make payments over time. Before
you hire an attorney, make sure you
know how much the attorney will
charge, and when you must pay her
or him.
Can I bring someone else to court
with me?
Whether or not you hire an attorney,
you may want a friend, relative, or
advocate to go with you to court.
Domestic violence shelter programs
may provide an advocate to go to
court with you. Advocates are not
lawyers, and therefore cannot get a
restraining order for you or give you
legal advice. However, they may go
to court with you and give you
support as you go through the
process.