In a domestic violence case, the victim is referred to as the petitioner, while the alleged abuser is the respondent. If served with a domestic violence complaint, finding a qualified lawyer familiar with local courts and domestic violence cases is the first part of preparing for a hearing. If denying the incident, respondents must defend their case in court.
At the hearing, the petitioner speaks first when the case is called, describing alleged injuries, perceived threats, and, if applicable, the involvement of children. After the petitioner is complete, the respondent’s attorney cross-examines the petitioner, asking questions about his or her story and allegations. Witnesses are then brought up one at a time and questioned by both parties’ attorneys. Bringing all necessary documentation to the hearing, including photographs, police reports, and other information related to the case, is expected by the presiding judge.