If your spouse or partner has harmed you, protecting yourself is crucial. You may have a place to go and a way to end the relationship. Yet, you have no guarantee that your abuser won’t track you down and try to hurt you again. By filing a restraining order against them, you can decrease the likelihood of facing further abuse.
Understanding your restraining order
In Massachusetts, pursuing a restraining order against your spouse or partner will keep them away from you. If you live with them, the order mandates they leave your place of residence. Your restraining order could also lead your abuser to compensate you for any damages their actions caused. And it may also force them to forfeit any firearms they own. If your abuser violates your restraining order, they can face serious consequences. These penalties include a prison sentence up to two-and-a-half years and a fine up to $5,000.
Filing a restraining order
If your abuser poses an immediate threat to your safety or your local court is closed, you can petition for a 24-hour restraining order from your police department. You will have to file a complaint through your local court the next day to receive a temporary injunction. So long as you can prove your abuser harmed you, a district court will grant your order. To receive a longer order of protection – which lasts for up to one year – you will have return to the courthouse so a judge can hear your abuser’s side of the story. If you have photographs or records documenting your abuse, presenting these can increase the chances of your order’s approval. And witnesses who can corroborate your side of the story may improve these odds, too.
No one deserves to become a domestic violence victim. If your partner or spouse has abused you, filing a restraining order is your first step toward escape. An attorney with domestic violence experience can guide you through the process and to safety.