Being a victim of domestic violence is nothing short of terrifying. For both women and men who are experiencing domestic violence, understanding the options for seeking safety and legal protections is important. If you are a victim of domestic violence, the Law Office of Heather M. Ward can help you by guiding you through the process of seeking a domestic violence restraining order in Massachusetts, as well as navigating the next steps, such as filing for divorce or seeking custody of shared children.
Who Can Seek a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in Massachusetts?
You can seek a domestic violence restraining order/abuse prevention order if you have been a victim of abuse committed by a household or family member, including:
- Your current or former spouse;
- Someone with whom you’ve had a substantial dating relationship (based on the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, etc.);
- Someone who is currently living in your household;
- Someone to whom you’re related by marriage or by blood; or
- Someone with whom you have a child.
“Abuse” is defined as attempting to cause physical harm to another person, putting another person in fear of imminent physical harm, actually causing physical harm to another person, or forcing another person–even a spouse–to engage in sexual relations against their will.
How to Get a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in Massachusetts
If you are a victim of domestic violence and need a protective order, you should immediately go to the nearest courthouse and file a complaint for an abuse prevention order. If it is after court hours, you can get an emergency order by going to any police department.
After you file your complaint, you will likely have an ex parte hearing where a judge will grant you an ex parte order if you are at imminent risk of harm. This type of order is temporary; you can be granted a longer-term order after the abuser has been served with the complaint and a domestic violence restraining order hearing has occurred.
Once you have the restraining order, the abuser is legally prohibited from contacting you, staying in a shared home or visiting your home or place of work, and from carrying a firearm. A domestic violence restraining order can also be used to grant you temporary custody of your children, as well as spousal support in some cases.
At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our family law attorney can help you to seek a domestic violence restraining order. After you are safe, you may start thinking about filing for divorce, seeking full custody of your children, seeking child support and spousal support, or all three. While leaving an abusive party can be extremely challenging, our lawyer will support you throughout the process, advocate for your best interests, and present evidence to the court that is in your favor.
Call Attorney Heather M. Ward Today
You deserve more than being in an abusive relationship. For help seeking a domestic violence restraining order and taking other legal action to improve your future, call the Law Office of Heather M. Ward today at (617) 903-8955 or send us a confidential message online. We are here to advocate for you!