All hearings for DVPO's are held at one time, and only DVPO requests are heard. Plaintiff may bring anyone with him/her needed for support and/or to assistance. It is up to the judge, however, whether or not they will be permitted to speak.
If Defendant is not present the judge will decide how to proceed. The judge may decide to reschedule the hearing and give Defendant another opportunity to be present, or to grant the DVPO. This decision will usually depend on whether Defendant has been served, how long after being served Defendant has had to prepare to come to court, and other factors the judge may consider important.
Either Plaintiff or Defendant may ask the judge to reschedule the hearing for good cause. Good cause may include needing more time for preparation, unavailability of witnesses, etc.
The judge may offer several options for resolving the case prior to the hearing. These may include giving Defendant the opportunity to agree to stay away from Plaintiff and to follow all of the rules outlined in the order without having a hearing. This is known as a "Consent Agreement." If Defendant agrees to this, the order is written by the judge and declared valid Without a Finding of Fact. This means that a finding of Domestic Violence is not entered into the record, but the need for protection remains. Defendant is ordered to stay away from Plaintiff and this agreement is an enforceable official court order.
If the judge decides that a hearing is necessary, it generally follows an informal process. Plaintiff will be asked to tell the judge what has happened, why he/she is afraid of expectations led requesting the order. (It might be helpful for Plaintiff list in chronological order beforehand the experienced incidents of threats or violence, what was said and/or done.)
After testimony is entered, Defendant will be given the opportunity to deny its truth and/or to explain why he/she does not think the order should be granted. It is at this time that Plaintiff would be able to present evidence, records, or witnesses. The judge will then make a determination as to whether a DVPO is necessary. If the judge grants a DVPO, it is said to be based on A Finding of Fact. In other words, a finding of Domestic Violence is entered into the record along with the DVPO.