Domestic Violence & Restraining Order Lawyer

Domestic Violence & Restraining Order Lawyer


Massachusetts restraining orders are intended to protect one person from another person. They are a civil order. A violation is a criminal offense. In Massachusetts, restraining order is frequently referred to as a 209(a) or protective order. The request will be heard in front of a judge and each person has the opportunity to present their argument. An attorney or Restraining Order Lawyer will guide you through the process by speaking on your behalf, enforcing your rights, and being by your side.

How to get a restraining order in Massachusetts

  1. Call 911 or go to the nearest police station and file a complaint. The Complaint will contain a detailed account of an incident or series of incidents that require a restraining order. The police will assist you with the process;  or
  2. Go to local District Court or Probate and Family Court and request a restraining order. You will go in front of a judge and explain why you are in imminent fear of physical harm. The judge will determine the validity of the complaint and decided whether to issue a temporary restraining order.

Against whom can I request a restraining order?

209A Restraining orders (a/k/a abuse prevention orders) are intended to protect the petitioner from someone with whom you have a specific type of relationship (family, intimate, residential). Follow the chart below to see if you are eligible for a restraining order:

  • You and your abuser are/were:

1. Married.
2. Living together.
3. A family member (either by blood or by marriage).
4. Your child’s parent (regardless of marital status); and/or.
5. Engaged and/or have been in a serious relationship.

  • The abuser has lead you to suffer from abuse as a result of Harming (or attempted to harm) you physically:

1. Leading you fear that you are in imminent danger of being physically hurt at any moment.
2. Forcing (or threatening) you to have nonconsensual sex.

If the above factors do not apply, then you may need to file a harassment protection order. [Click this link to learn about Harassment Protection Orders].

Massachusetts Restraining Order Process

A restraining order hearing is an evidentiary hearing. This means that the parties will need to comply with the Massachusetts Rules of Evidence during the hearing. Each party will have the opportunity to testify and to cross examine the other witness.

In Massachusetts, restraining orders are civil cases (rather than criminal cases). If a party obtains the requested restraining order (209A), the defendant will be ordered by the Judge to follow comply with the order. However, they will not be prosecuted by the Commonwealth and they will not be arrested or pay any fines.

Side note: a party can file a restraining order against someone without criminal charges being brought (For example, the defendant does not have to have been charged for having broken the law for you to file a restraining order).

What can a restraining order do?

A 209A Restraining Order commands that the person receiving the order must not do a particular thing. The restraining order can order that the person (non-exhaustive list):

Stop threatening, hurting, or abusing you;

  1. Not contact you;
  2. Stay away from your home/place of work/school et cetera;
  3. Move out of your residence;
  4. Pay expenses that were a result of the abuse;
  5. Attend a batter’s intervention program
  6. Surrender firearms to the police.
  7. Make child custody orders. This includes both legal and physical custody. [Click Here to Learn More about Massachusetts Child Custody].

Defending Against Restraining Orders

The best way to defend against a 209A is to prepare as far in advance as possible. This typically requires a decision in a matter of days. Notice is typically 10 days or less before the hearing. It is important to get the court records, review the court records and meet with your counsel in order to execute a plan as far in advance of the hearing as possible.

Other Resources for Domestic Abuse

A restraining order lawyer helps you to arrest an abuser who violates the court order (ie, if they go to the victim’s house or workplace in violation of the court’s Order). Unfortunately, however, restraining orders are not always a surefire way to prevent abuse in the future. A 209A should be only part o f a wider safety plan. No one deserves to face domestic abuse alone. [Click Here to Review The Law and Hotlines]

Your safety and health are of utmost importance. If you believe you need a restraining order lawyer, or are looking to defend yourself against an order being placed on you, call (617) 410-6467 today.


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