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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 14, 2023

How do I change or extend my abuse prevention order?

If you want to change (modify) your order or if you want to end (terminate) the order, you can file a motion to modify or terminate the order. The judge may let you appear in front of him/her right away if the changes are urgently needed or the judge could set the matter down for a hearing.1 The abuser also has the right to file a defendant’s motion to modify or terminate. If s/he files such a motion, you would be notified and the matter would be set down for a hearing where you can be present and object to the termination or modification.

You may apply to the court to have your abuse prevention order extended even if no new acts of abuse occurred while you have had your order. When you get your one-year order, the order will state the time and date that the order will expire as well as the date and time that you can appear in court to ask for the order to be extended. (If the expiration date is on a weekend, a holiday, or a date when the court is closed, the order will not expire until the next date that the court is open.) If you go to court at the date and time the order is to expire – or, if you file a motion to extend the order and it is set down for a different date – the judge will decide whether or not to extend the order for any additional time that the judge believes is “reasonably necessary” to protect you and your children. The judge can even make the order “permanent.”​2 You may be able to extend your order without the abuser appearing in court.

1 M.G.L.A. 209A § 3(i); see also Notice to Plaintiff Regarding Abuse Prevention Order, Massachusetts Court System website
2 M.G.L.A. 209A § 3(i)