When the application is filed, the matter will be allocated a date for mention in court. The aggrieved spouse will need to attend court on that date. If the respondent spouse does not attend court, then the magistrate, if satisfied that the respondent spouse has been properly served with the application, will make a protection order in their absence. Remember, it is the police who are responsible for serving the application and they will ensure that the court receives proof that the application was served.
If the respondent spouse attends court, he or she may indicate that they consent to the protection order being made. If this is the case, then the magistrate will make the order on that day. Both the aggrieved spouse and the respondent spouse will receive copies of the order.
The respondent spouse may indicate that he or she is willing to consent to the order being made, but without admissions. This means that he or she is not willing to admit the allegations of domestic violence, but does not oppose a domestic violence order being made. In the majority of cases, an aggrieved spouse will not be disadvantaged if the respondent spouse consents to the order being made, without admissions. The protection order that is made by the magistrate will not differ in any way.
A protection order will usually be made for a duration of two (2) years. It is possible, after the making of a protection order, for an application to be made to a magistrate to have the order varied or revoked.
When the Respondent Spouse Objects to the Order Being Made
If, on the first return date of the application, the respondent spouse indicates that he or she objects to the order being made, the matter will be adjourned for a trial (otherwise known as a hearing). The trial date can be a number of months from the first return date.
In most circumstances, the magistrate will make a temporary domestic violence order which will remain in force until the trial date. A temporary domestic violence order is exactly the same as a normal domestic violence order, except that it only remains in force until the next court date.