A Massachusetts protective order, often referred to as a restraining order is a court order that may state that one party cannot communicate and/or go near the other party. The court has the authority to make the order as narrow or inclusive as the court sees fit. The purpose of the protective order is put both parties and the police on notice that the plaintiff is fearful of the defendant causing him/her harm. A violation of the court’s civil protective order is a criminal offense. It is important to remember that the protective order is only a piece of paper and cannot physically stop someone from harming someone else. If there is an emergency, call 911. Who and How does someone get a Massachusetts protective order?
Who Should Get A Massachusetts Protective Order (M.G.L 209A)
If a person does any of the following acts to another family or household member, then the abused person may get a Massachusetts protective order:
How to Get a Massachusetts Protective Order
In either situation, the original protective order will be temporary. The order will provide a date and time that both parties must appear before the court. The police will serve the defendant with notice of the hearing. If the plaintiff does not appear at this hearing, then the protective order will expire. At that hearing the court will determine if the protective order should be continued and with what conditions.
Talking to a judge in an open courtroom with the abuser present is a very difficult task. It is advised to contact an attorney to represent you in court.
Additionally, the following hotlines can provide advice: