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Legal Information: New Hampshire

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
February 10, 2020

What types of protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are three types of orders:

Temporary (emergency) ex parte protective orders issued via telephone. If you are in immediate danger of domestic violence and the court is closed, you may get an emergency order by going to or calling the nearest police department.  A police officer can help you fill out the forms and contact a judge by telephone. The judge may give you an emergency order over the phone or via fax machine if s/he believes you are in imminent danger. If you get an order over the phone, it will last until the close of the next business day that the court is open. For the protection to remain in effect, you will have to go to the circuit court where you live or where you fled to (unless the judge orders you to go to a different court) before the close of the next business day to request a protective order that will last longer.1 

Temporary ex parte protective orders issued in court. When you go to court to file for a protective order, if the judge believes there is an immediate/present danger of abuse, the judge can order a temporary ex parte order to protect you until you have a full hearing on the protective order.  The defendant/abuser has the right to file a written request with the clerk of the court to request a hearing to fight against the order, which would be held within 3 to 5 business days - and this hearing would count as the final protective order hearing.1  If the defendant does not request this immediate hearing, the hearing for the final order will generally be held within 30 days of when you filed the petition or within 10 days of when the defendant is served with the papers, whichever is later.2  You must attend whatever hearing is scheduled in order to continue your order.

Final protective orders. A final protective order can be issued only after a court hearing where you and the abuser have the right to be present and to each present your evidence, testimoney, etc.  A final order will last up to 1 year, unless otherwise stated.3  Orders may also be extended - see How do I change, extend or cancel my protective order?

1 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:4(I)
2 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:3(VII)(a)
3 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:5(VI)