WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.
Important: Even if courts are closed, you can still file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.
Legal Information: Massachusetts
Updated: December 11, 2019
Step 3: The ex parte hearing
When you file for an abuse prevention order, there is generally an ex parte hearing where the judge will read your complaint and ask you why you want an abuse prevention order. If the judge believes there is a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse, the judge can issue an ex parte temporary order with any terms that the judge believes are necessary to protect you from abuse. The order will usually last for 10 business days until the return hearing.1
Even if the judge does not grant you a temporary ex parte order at the ex parte hearing, it’s possible that you can still be given a court date for a return hearing where the abuser will be present. At that time, you can try to prove your case as to why an order should be granted and the abuser can object and defend himself/herself.
1 M.G.L.A. 209A § 4
© 2008–2020 WomensLaw.org is a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc. All rights reserved. This website is funded in part through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this website (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided). NNEDV is a 501©(3) non-profit organization; EIN 52-1973408.