Legal Information: Maine

Restraining Orders

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December 28, 2022

Step 3 - Service of process

This step will be slightly different, depending on whether or not the judge granted you a temporary order.

If you were granted a temporary order for protection from abuse, the clerk will ask a police officer or deputy sheriff to serve the complaint and temporary order and notice of hearing on the defendant.

It is the court’s responsibility to arrange service. To speed up service, however, in some cases the court may ask the plaintiff if s/he wants to take the court papers to the law enforcement agency. You may call the law enforcment agency to find out when the papers are served on the defendent. If the defendent is not in Maine, you may be responsible for arranging service.  To contact the appropriate sheriff department in another state, you can go to our Sheriff Departments page and enter the state where the defendant lives.

The clerk will give you a certified copy of the complaint, temporary order and notice of hearing. The court must schedule a hearing within 21 days.1  The notice of hearing will tell you the date and time. You must be present at the stated date and time or the order will be dismissed. If you have a genuine emergency that keeps you from getting to the court on the given date and time, you may notify the court and ask for a continuance. The judge will decide whether to continue the hearing to a later date.

The defendant has the right to petition the court for an expedited hearing to dissolve the temporary order. This hearing can happen within 48 hours notice or less to you.2

If you were not granted a temporary PFA order, it will be scheduled for a final hearing within 21 days1 (unless the case is dismissed at your request).  The court clerk will fill out a summons, which will tell the defendant the date and time that your complaint will be heard by the court. S/he will give you copies of the complaint and summons. Take two copies of each to the police department or sheriff’s office, along with the service information sheet for service on the defendant.

1 ME ST T. 19-A § 4006(1)
2 ME ST T. 19-A § 4006(7)

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

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