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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 14, 2023

Am I eligible for an abuse prevention order?

You may be eligible for an abuse prevention order if an act of abuse (as defined by law) was committed by any of the following family or household members:

  • your spouse or former spouse;
  • someone with whom you live, currently or in the past;
  • someone related to you by blood or marriage;
  • someone with whom you have a child in common; or
  • someone with whom you have or had a “substantial dating relationship.”1

To determine whether or not your dating relationship was “substantial,” the judge will look at the following factors:

  • the length of the relationship;
  • the nature of the relationship;
  • how often you interacted with each other; and
  • how long ago you broke up if you are no longer dating.1

Note: If you don’t qualify for an abuse prevention order, you may qualify for a harassment prevention order. For more information, see our Harassment Prevention Order section.

1 M.G.L.A. 209A § 1