Restraining Orders

When a relationship or living situation becomes volatile, violent, and threatening, knowing what to do can be unsettling, and taking action to protect yourself can be scary. While we understand how frightening it may be to take legal action, getting to a safe place and requesting a restraining order against the violent party is critical in instances of domestic violence. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our family law attorney can help you to understand the different types of restraining orders, how to request a restraining order, and how to file for divorce, seek custody of your children, and more.

Abuse Prevention Restraining Orders in Massachusetts

As explained by, you may be eligible for a restraining order–called a 209A Order or Abuse Prevention Order–if you and your abuser:

  • Currently are married or were married;
  • Are living together or were living together at some point;
  • Are currently or were engaged or in a romantic dating relationship;
  • Have a child in common; or
  • Are related by blood or marriage.

In addition to having one of the above relationships with your abuser, you must also be suffering harm as a result of your abuser:

  • Physically harming you or attempting to physically harm you;
  • Putting you in fear of suffering physical harm; or
  • Forcing you to engage in involuntary sexual behavior, either as a result of physical force, threat, or duress.

A 209A protective order prohibits the defendant from coming near you, calling you, contacting you, and more. The order may also result in you being granted temporary custody of your children, prohibiting the defendant from owning a gun, and asking the defendant to leave your home.

Different Types of Restraining Orders in Massachusetts

While a 209A abuse prevention order is one of the most common types of restraining orders in Massachusetts, it is not the only one. Indeed, there are also criminal restraining orders,  harassment orders, and Automatic Restraining Orders (AROs) that are part of a divorce action (as a note, AROs aren’t used to protect against acts of violence, but rather to ensure that once a party files for divorce, neither party changes insurance policies, sells property, or takes other financial actions that could affect a divorce settlement).

Helping You Understand and Seek a Restraining Order

If you are the victim of domestic violence, or if you are filing for a divorce in Massachusetts, you may have questions about restraining orders and how you can protect yourself. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, we know how terrifying seeking help can be, especially if you are a victim of abuse. When you call our law office, we will work diligently to get you the protection you need while preserving your anonymity and confidentiality. To schedule a consultation with our family law attorney today, please send us a private message using the contact form on our website, or call us at (617) 903-8955. We are committed to helping you understand your rights and secure the best outcome for your case.