You can hire an attorney to represent you and ask the attorney to request that you be excused from appearing directly by the court.
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There are times when a lawyer can ask a Court to waive a client's appearance, but I think you would have difficulty achieving what you want if you are not present at the 209A hearing. They may be able, however, to accomodate the emotional stress that you feel.
Generally for restraining orders you must stand in but having an attorney is still a good idea because the attorney will help you get through the hearing, advocate for you and support you. I know restraining order hearings are stressful and emotionally tolling, but if its necessary for the restraining order to be in place then try to muster the strength to make it through the hearing. Also you can usually sit in the victim advocates office until the time your case is called.
Melissa Levine is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by Attorney Levine answering your question. It is advisable to consult with an attorney about your personal legal concerns.
Youi can hire a lawyer but you need to be there and you should be there. The judge may want infromation from you and you want to show the importance of having the restraining order by showing up. A good lawyer can arrange for a court officer to accompany you if you are afraid.
This answer does not consitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the facts presented. This answer is basd only on Massachusetts law.
You will need to appear but perhaps the order can be made permanent so you need not retuns to court again. Call an attorney.
This is not legal advice until I am retained and have reviewed all facts about your situation.
With respect to my fellow counsel, no Court in Massachusetts is permitted to extend an abuse prevention order without an appearance by the person seeking the order, barring a medical issue (e.g. hospitalization) preventing an appearance, in which case arrangements can be made with the Court.
They are correct that there is a victim-witness advocate in every courthouse who can be with you; that you can wait in a separate room or office with the advocate until the case is called; and that you can request that the extension be made permanent. But if you do not appear, even if the Defendant fails to appear, the order will terminate on the renewal date. So you absolutely must attend.
You can also call the Courthouse a day or two before the proceeding and coordinate with the domestic violence victim-witness advocate to have them come outside to walk you on the day of the hearing, and otherwise safety-plan, if you are concerned that you could run into the abuser on your way into the Courthouse.
Your anxiousness about the proceeding would be a good reason to hire counsel to represent you. You should seriously consider doing so.
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