The state of Massachusetts recognizes that there are times when one spouse may require protection from the other, and issues automatic restraining orders and protective orders as such. While both of these types of orders can coincide with a divorce, they are completely different. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, we can help you to understand divorce automatic restraining orders, as well as orders of protection for cases involving domestic violence.

Automatic Restraining Orders in Divorce

Restraining orders are typically thought of as orders that protect one spouse from the violent actions of another. While this is often true, an automatic restraining order in a divorce, also called an ARO, is not about domestic violence, but instead about property and money. Indeed, this type of restraining order will go into effect automatically upon a party filing for divorce or complaint for separate support, and holds that:

  • Neither party can transfer, sell, encumber, remove, or dispose of any real property;
  • Neither party is allowed to incur further debts;
  • Neither party can change the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, retirement or pension plan, or pension or investment account; and
  • Neither party can remove the other party or any minor children from an existing insurance policy.

The automatic restraining order is served on the defendant at the same time the the divorce summons is served.

Order of Protection

The more commonly known type of restraining order in Massachusetts is called a 209A Protective Order, and is a type of court order that is used to protect you or a member of your family from the violence of someone else in your home, including your spouse. You can file for a protective order prior to asking for a divorce, during a divorce case, or even after a divorce has been finalized. Orders of protection can be used to order the defendant to:

  • Stop abusing the plaintiff;
  • Refrain from contacting the plaintiff; and
  • Vacate a shared home.

If a divorce (and child custody arrangement) is not finalized, a protective order can also be used to provide the plaintiff with temporary custody of a minor child.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, seeking an order of protection can be critical to your wellbeing and the safety of your children. Not only can our experienced attorney help you to seek a restraining order for domestic violence, but also initiate the divorce proceedings and work hard to secure a divorce judgement that is within your best interests.

Learn More About Massachusetts Restraining Orders in Divorce

Whether you have questions about the financial restraining order that will go into effect when you file for divorce, or you have questions about protecting yourself from domestic violence prior to, during, or post-divorce, our experienced Boston family law attorney can help. To learn more about restraining orders in divorce, and how Attorney Heather M. Ward can help you to understand and enforce a restraining order, call our law office today at (617) 903-8955. You can also get in touch with our law office by sending us a message using the contact form on our website. Any consultations are completely confidential.