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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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December 14, 2023

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 ten 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