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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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December 14, 2023

Can I get my protection enforced in Massachusetts? What are the requirements?

Under Massachusetts state law, any ex parte, temporary, or final protection orders issued by civil or criminal court in another state, territory, or possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, or a tribal court can be enforced throughout Massachusetts as long as the order was issued for the purpose of preventing:

  • violent or threatening acts against you;
  • harassment against you;
  • contact or communication with you; or
  • physical closeness to you.1

In addition, under federal law, which applies to all states, there are slightly different rules about which types of orders can be enforced in Massachusetts. Your protective order can be enforced in Massachusetts under federal law as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.2
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
  • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.3

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 M.G.L.A. 209A §§ 5A; 1; MA Abuse Prev. 14:00
2 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
3 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a), (b)