Who can get a protection from abuse order?
You can file for a protection from abuse order based on acts of abuse done to you or your minor child by a family or household member or dating partner, defined as:
- your current or former spouse;
- someone with whom you have a child in common;
- someone with whom who you live/d;
- your current or former sexual partner;
- someone you are related to by blood or marriage;
- someone you are currently dating or formerly dated (regardless of whether or not you had a sexual relationship).1
You can also file for a protection from abuse order against anyone who has committed any of the following against you or your minor child:
- attempting to cause or causing sexual assault;
- stalking as defined by law;
- engaging in the unauthorized dissemination of certain private images;
- engaging in aggravated sex trafficking or sex trafficking; and
- for minors only:
- sexual exploitation of a minor;
- dissemination of sexually explicit material
- harassment by telephone or electronic communication device, but only the acts in paragraphs (1)(A-1) and (1)(A-2), which deal with sending an image or video of a sexual act.2
If you are 60 years of age or older, a dependent adult, or an incapacitated adult, you can also file for a protection from abuse order against an extended family member or an unpaid care provider.2 For more information, see our Protection from Abuse Orders (for the elderly/dependent/incapacitated) page.
You can ask for an order on behalf of a child for whom you are responsible. If you are both being abused, you can ask the court to grant an order that will protect both of you.
If you are being harassed by someone who has a relationship to you that is not listed above or who is committing an act against you that is not described above, you may be eligible for a protection from harassment order. See our Protection from Harassment Orders section for more information.
Can I get a protection from abuse order against a same-sex partner?
In Maine, you may apply for a protection from abuse order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can get a protection from abuse order? You must also be the victim of an act of abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of abuse in Maine?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
Can I keep my address confidential?
Yes, you can keep your address confidential when you file for a protection from abuse order. Ask the clerk for a form called “Motion to Keep Address Confidential.”
How much does it cost? Do I need a lawyer?
There are no fees for filing for a protection from abuse order.1 You do not need a lawyer to file for one, however, you may wish to have a lawyer, especially if the abuser has a lawyer or if there are complicated issues in your case. If you can, contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to get free or low-cost legal help on our ME Finding a Lawyer page.
Domestic violence organizations in your area also should be able to help you through the legal process and may have lawyer referrals. Visit the ME Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.