On behalf of Corrie A. Boulay LLC posted in domestic violence on Monday, May 29, 2017.

Domestic violence is a complicated issue and many victims get overwhelmed with the process when they finally reach out to the courts for help.

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, these are some things that you should know:

1. You can qualify for treatment as a victim even if you are not living with your abuser. If you have a child with your abuser or had been living with the abuser for 90 days in the past year in a sexual relationship, you qualify. You also qualify if you are related to the victim in any way through birth, adoption or marriage.

2. The abuser does not have to be present at the initial hearing where you ask for protection. Most initial orders are carried out ex parte, which means without one of the parties present — in this case, the alleged abuser — involved. He or she will have a chance to present a defense later. Right now, the court is concerned about your safety.

3. The Ex Parte Order is granted the same day as your request as long as the judge finds your request credible. Once granted, the Ex Parte Order requires your abuser to cut off all contact with you, stay away from you and your children (including children you have together) and leave any property you live in together.

4. The Ex Parte Order is effective the minute it is served on your abuser by the police. That makes it very important to bring the address where you believe your abuser can be located with you to the courthouse when you make your request.

5. The Ex Parte Order is as strong as a regular restraining order while it is in effect. If the abuser violates it, he or she can be sent to jail.

6. You do not have to pay anything to request a Protective Order or have it served.

The Ex Parte Order will only remain in effect until the full hearing, which is held within seven days of the initial request. At that point, the abuser will be allowed to mount a defense. While you do not need an attorney, many victims of violence fare better with attorney representation because they are too nervous to present their case.