I was served with a restraining order, what should I do?



I was served with a restraining order, what should I do?

If you were recently served with a restraining order the first thing to do is NOT VIOLATE THE RESTRAINING ORDER! Regardless of whether the person taking out the order lied, they were actually abusing you, the order is unfair, you need to go home to get clothes or personal belongings or clothes, or you want to see your children – DO NOT VIOLATE THE RESTRAINING ORDER.

No matter the ultimate validity of the restraining order or your need to return home, Massachusetts takes a very hard-line approach to violations. If you violate a restraining order, even by making a harmless well-intended phone call to work things out, you will be arrested, jailed, and criminally prosecuted. If you need to collect personal belongings and clothing from your home, you should go to your local police station with a copy of the restraining order and they can escort you home to collect some belongings.

Once you receive the restraining order, make sure you review it thoroughly. You need to find out what the order limits you from doing, which court issued the restraining order, and when the review hearing is scheduled. The next step is to get a copy of the affidavit that was filed with the original restraining order. Every person requesting a restraining order must a make a sworn written statement, called an affidavit, explaining why they need a restraining order. This affidavit is kept in the clerk’s office in the courthouse which issued the restraining order.

With a copy of the restraining order, you can start preparing for the review hearing. Review hearings are normally scheduled within a week and it is important to attend and defend yourself. If you do not attend the review hearing, the restraining order will almost always be extended for a year. While Massachusetts Courts will usually grant the initial emergency restraining order based only on an affidavit, the review hearing provides you with an opportunity to provide your own evidence in your defense and question the truthfulness of your accuser’s claims.

If you were recently served with a restraining order, contact us today. We will evaluate the emergency affidavit in your case and help you prepare for the review hearing. During the hearing, we will make the important arguments on your behalf and question your accuser to ensure the Judge hears the truth.

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