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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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December 11, 2019

Can a minor file for an abuse prevention order?

In order for a minor to get an abuse prevention order, an adult (usually a parent or guardian) is supposed to file the complaint on the minor’s behalf. The section of the complaint form that refers to minors specifically states “I am under the age of 18, and _____, my______ (relationship to Plaintiff) has filed this complaint for me.” However, the guide to completing the complaint forms that is available on the Massachusetts Court System website says “If a minor plaintiff comes in without an accompanying adult, he or she must not be turned away, and the judge should be alerted to the situation.” Therefore, it’s possible that if a judge might appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor or take some other steps that would allow an unaccompanied minor to file the complaint.

If you want to see how judges in your county typically handle a minor who comes to court without an adult, you can contact your local domestic violence organization or legal services organization. Go to our MA Places that Help page for referrals.