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Legal Information: Maine

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 28, 2023

What types of protection from abuse orders are there? How long do they last?

In Maine, there are two types of protection from abuse orders:

Temporary protection from abuse order - You can request an ex parte temporary protection order that will stay in effect until the hearing for the final order within 21 days. The order can be granted without a court hearing, and without the abuser’s knowledge as long as the judge believes there is a “good cause” to grant the order; for example, if you are in “immediate and present danger.” Even if the judge does not give you a temporary order, a final hearing will be scheduled within 21 days where you can try to prove the allegations in your petition to get a final order.1 Note: After the abuser is served, s/he has the right to file a motion asking the judge to end (dissolve) or change (modify) the order. You may only be given two days’ notice of this hearing.2

If you need a temporary order when there is no judge available in the District Court or the District Court courthouse is closed, you can file an emergency petition (complaint) with another District Court Judge or Superior Court Justice and get a temporary order that way. However, the law mentions that this is an option if no other arrangement can be made for your protection (shelter).3

Final protection from abuse order - You must attend the final hearing that was set by the court and listed on your temporary protection order.  A protection from abuse order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to present evidence or after both parties consent (agree) to the order being issued.  A protection from abuse order usually lasts up to two years.4 However, you may be able to have it extended. See: How do I change, extend, or cancel my protection from abuse order?

1 ME ST T. 19-A §§ 4108(1); 4109(1)
ME ST T. 19-A § 4108(6)
3 ME ST T. 19-A § 4108(4)
4 ME ST T. 19-A § 4110(5)