How do I get a restraining order?



How do I get a restraining order?

Massachusetts Courts take domestic violence concerns very seriously. To protect against the possibility of physical harm, Massachusetts has enacted a liberal standard for granting restraining orders in domestic situations. To obtain a restraining order, one must show that they have a reasonable fear of physical bodily harm.

To get a restraining order during working hours, you can go to either your local District Court or Probate & Family Court. You will have to complete a request for the restraining order along with a detailed sworn written statement, called an "affidavit," stating why you are afraid of being physically harmed. If you have an attorney, they will help you complete the necessary paperwork and work with you on the specific wording in your affidavit. If you do not have an attorney, the Courts often have a victims’ rights advocate who is available to assist you.

Once you have completed your paperwork, you will have to go before a Judge and explain why you need a restraining order. The Judge will review your documents and may ask you some questions about your concerns. Most Judges will then grant an emergency temporary restraining order with a review hearing within a week. The police will then deliver this emergency order to your significant other and inform them of the upcoming review hearing.

During the review hearing, you and your significant other will have the opportunity to go back before the Judge and explain why the restraining order should be either extended or vacated. If extended, most Judges will grant the restraining order for an additional year and schedule a further review hearing a day before it expires.

Restraining orders are very specific and can order your significant other from contacting or coming within a certain distance of you, your children, your family and loved ones, your home, your work, or your other normal locations.

If you need an emergency restraining order during the weekend or outside of normal working hours, you will need to go to your local police station. The police will help you complete your emergency request and then have a telephone conference with an emergency on-call Judge to have it ordered.

It is very important to note that disobeying or disregarding a restraining order is a criminal violation. If your significant other calls or approaches you or your children in violation of the restraining order, they will be arrested by the police and they will face criminal prosecution with the potential of jail time.

If you are afraid that your significant other will physically harm you or your children, it is important that you contact us immediately about obtaining an emergency restraining order. Our attorneys will help draft your affidavit to make sure you are protected. We will also accompany you to the local police station or courthouse to help you obtain the order. During the review hearing, our attorneys will help you extend the restraining order by ensuring all proper legal procedures are followed and questioning your significant other in open court to identify the important facts in a clear and precise manner.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your case in more detail and how we can help you going forward.

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