Can I change or extend my harassment prevention order?
Changing the order
Either you or the harasser can file a motion to change (modify) the order at any time and the court will set a hearing date. Either the person who files the motion or the court will serve notice on the other party. At the hearing, both sides can argue their case and tell the judge why the order should or should not be changed.1
Extending the order
There are two ways you can ask the court to extend the order:
- When you get your final order, it should list a date and time when the order expires and when you can go back to court (to ask for an extension). You can go to court on that date and ask the judge to extend the order for a specific time period or make it permanent. If it expires on a date the court is closed, you should go to court the next day that the court is open.2 The harasser might come to court on the expiration date too.
- Instead of showing up in court on the expiration date, you can file a motion in court before the order expires, asking for an extension. Usually, after someone files a motion, the court notifies the other party and sets a date for a hearing. At the hearing, both sides can argue their case as to why the order should or should not be extended.
You can still ask for an extension of your final order even if there have not been any new incidents of harassment since the first order was issued.2
1 M.G.L.A. 258E § 3(e)
2 M.G.L.A. 258E § 3(d)