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Legal Information: New Hampshire

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
February 28, 2019

What protections can I get in a protective order?

A temporary ex parte protective order and a final protective order can order the defendant:

  • to hand over all firearms, ammunition and other deadly weapons in his/her control or possession to a peace officer;1 (Note: Later on, the judge has the power to issue a search warrant authorizing a peace officer to seize (take) any weapons, firearms and ammunition, if there is probable cause to believe that the defendant didn't hand them over as ordered);2
  • to not abuse you, your relatives (regardless of where they live), or your household members in any way.
  • to not enter your home or the area immediately surrounding your home (the curtilage) unless s/he is accompanied by a peace officer, provides reasonable notice to you, and you agree to allow him/her to retrieve personal belongings;
  • to not contact you or enter your work, school, or any other place that you include in the order that is regularly visited by you or by any family or household member.
  • to not take, destroy or damage any property that you may be legally entitled to;
  • to stay away from any animal owned or possessed by you, the abuser, or a minor child in either or your households and forbidding the defendant/abuser from taking, giving away, or hiding the animal, or committing an act of cruelty or neglect against the animal (and giving you the care, custody, or control of the animal).1

A temporary ex parte protective order can order the following additional protections:

  • order the defendant not to take any action that would lead to the disconnection of any and all utilities and services to your home; and not to discontinue existing business or service contracts, including, but not limited to, mortgage or rental agreements.3
  • grant custody of minor children to either party (or, with notice, to the state when it is in the best interest of a child);
  • deny the defendant visitation, order that visitation be supervised (or that it only take place only at a supervised visitation center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site), or order a specific visitation schedule. Visitation can only be ordered in an ex parte order where the judge determines that it can be safely ordered and the judge will consider the following factors when deciding this:
    • the degree to which visitation exposes the you or the children to physical or psychological harm;
    • whether this risk can be removed by ordering supervised visitation or by ordering supervised visitation at a center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site; and
    • whether visitation can be ordered without requiring the plaintiff and defendant to have contact regarding the exchange of children.4
  • grant you (the petitioner) the exclusive use and possession of the home, an automobile, household furniture if the defendant has the legal duty to support you or your minor children, or if you have contributed to the household expenses (and the judge will consider the type and amount of contribution to be a factor.)3

A final protective order can order the following additional protections:

  • grant you the exclusive use and possession of the home and the area immediately surrounding your home (the curtilage) unless all of the following are true:
    • the defendant is the only owner of the home or the only one on the lease; and
    • s/he pays for the premises; and
    • the defendant has no legal duty to support you or your minor children who are on the premises;
  • order the defendant not to withhold specific items of your personal property (and a peace officer can go with you to get these items);
  • grant to you the exclusive right to use/possess the household furniture and/or a specific automobile, unless the defendant exclusively owns such personal property and the defendant has no legal duty to support you or your minor children;
  • order the defendant to make automobile, insurance, health care, utilities, rent, or mortgage payments;
  • grant temporary custody of the parties' minor children to either party or, where appropriate, to the department;
  • establish visitation rights with regard to the parties' minor children. In order to secure the safety of you and your children, the judge can deny visitation, order that visitation be supervised (or that it only take place only at a supervised visitation center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site), or order a specific visitation schedule. The judge will consider whether visitation can be exercised by the non-custodial parent without risk to you or your children's safety by looking at the following factors:
    • the degree to which visitation exposes the you or the children to physical or psychological harm;
    • whether this risk can be removed by ordering supervised visitation or by ordering supervised visitation at a center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site; and
    • whether visitation can be ordered without requiring you and defendant to have contact regarding the exchange of children.
  • order the defendant to pay financial support to you and/or your minor children, unless the defendant has no legal duty to support the you or your minor children.
  • ordering the abuser to attend a batterer's intervention program or personal counseling (but the judge cannot order joint counseling for you and the abuser).
  • ordering the defendant to pay you money for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse, which may include, but not be limited to, loss of income, medical and dental expenses, damage to property, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, and moving and shelter expenses; and
  • ordering the defendant to pay reasonable attorney's fees.5

1 N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 173-B:4(I)(a); 173-B:5(I)(a)
2N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 173-B:4(II); 173-B:5(II)
3N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:4(I)(b)
4N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:4(I)(a)
5 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:5(I)(b)