WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

View all
December 14, 2023

Step 1: Go to court to get and file the complaint.

As soon as possible after the abuse occurs, go to the district court nearest to where you live or the probate and family court in the county in which you live. You may also go to the superior court in the county in which you live, or to the Boston Municipal Court if you live in Boston, but most abuse prevention orders are filed in the district courts or probate and family courts. It is also important to know that if you are asking for visitation, supervised or otherwise, to be included in your order, only the probate and family court can order visitation in an abuse prevention order.1

You can obtain the complaint during normal business hours, Monday through Friday or you can find the forms online at our MA Download Court Forms page. To find the courthouse in your county, go to MA Courthouse Locations.

If you are in immediate danger of abuse and the court is closed, you may get an emergency order by going to the nearest police department. If you are issued an emergency order, it will only be good until the close of the next day that the court is open. For the protection to remain in effect, you must go to court before the close of the next business day to request an abuse prevention order.

1 See Guide to Completing G.L. c. 209A Forms, available on the Massachusetts Court System website