Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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November 28, 2016

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

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 can obtain a petition during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. To find the courthouse in your county, go to MA Courthouse Locations.

At the courthouse, tell the clerk that you want to file a petition for a final abuse prevention order. If you are in immediate danger, tell the clerk you also want a temporary ("ex-parte") order. The clerk will give you the forms.

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.

Note: 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 taken out of the district courts or probate and family courts.