Legal Information: Maine

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
September 28, 2017

What protections can I get in a protection from abuse order?

In a temporary, ex parte protection from abuse order, the judge can:

  1. make an order concerning the parental rights and responsibilities relating to the minor children living in the home; and
  2. can order the defendant to not:
    • restrain, threaten, assault, molest, harass, attack you or otherwise disturb your peace;
    • enter the family home or your home (if you live separately);
    • follow you or be near your home, school, business or place of employment repeatedly and without reasonable cause:
    • take, sell, destroy or damage property in which you may have a legal interest;
    • have any direct or indirect contact with you;
    • injure or threaten to injure any animal owned, kept or held by either party or by a minor child living in the household (and the judge can make an order regarding the care/custody of the animal); and/or
    • engage in the unauthorized dissemination of certain private images;
    • destroy, transfer or tamper with your passport or other immigration documents; and
    • have or possess a firearm if certain conditions are met.1 (For the list of conditions, read section 2-A of ME ST T. 19A § 4006).

A final protection from abuse order can do the following:

  1. order the defendant to not:
    • threaten, assault, molest, harass, attack or otherwise abuse you and/or any minor children in the home;
    • use, attempt to use, or threaten to use any physical force that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury against you or any minor children living in the home;
    • enter your home;
    • follow you or be near your home, school, business or place of employment repeatedly and without reasonable cause;
    • stalk you;
    • have any direct or indirect contact with you;
    • have or possess a firearm or dangerous weapon; and/or
    • take, sell, destroy or damage property in which you may have a legal interest (and the judge can order the division of personal property and household goods/furniture);
    • injure or threaten to injure any animal owned, kept or held by either party or by a minor child living in the household (and the judge can make an order regarding the care/custody of the animal);
  2. order the defendant to remove, destroy or return any "private images" (as defined in the unauthorized dissemination of certain private images) and, if necessary, order the defendant to pay any costs associated with removal, destruction or return of the private images;
  3. if you and the defendant jointly own or lease your home, or if one party solely owns or leases the property but s/he has a duty to support the other party or the minor children living in the home, the judge can:
    • give (or restore) possession of the home to one party, excluding the other; or
    • if both parties agree, the party who has a duty to support the other can provide suitable alternate housing;
  4. order the termination of a life insurance policy that is owned by the defendant if you are the person whose life is insured;
  5. award some or all temporary parental rights and responsibilities, or temporary rights of contact with regard to the minor children, or both;
  6. order the defendant to pay temporary support for you and/or your child;
  7. order the defendant to pay you for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse (i.e., loss of earnings, injury to you, medical bills, damaged property or moving expenses);
  8. grant custody and care of any pets in the household that are owned by you, the defendant, or a child in the home to you;
  9. order the defendant to get counseling or attend a certified batterers' intervention program;
  10. order the defendant to pay your court costs and/or attorney's fees;
  11. if the defendant committed sex trafficking or aggravated sex trafficking, order him/her to pay money damages related to the return or restoration of your passport/immigration documents and any debts you have that came from the trafficking relationship (in addition to any other orders that the judge thinks are necessary or appropriate related to the trafficking); and
  12. order anything else you need to stay safe.2

Note: If you file a petition that gets dismissed at a hearing where both parties are present, the judge can order you to pay court costs and/or the defendant's attorney's fees if the judge rules that your complaint (petition) is frivolous (without a legal basis).3

1ME ST T. 19-A § 4006(2-A),(5),(5-A)
2ME ST T. 19-A § 4007(1)
3ME ST T. 19-A § 4007(1)(L-1)