Restraining Orders / Abuse / Harassment Prevention Orders
Restraining orders are civil matters involving allegations of abuse, forced sex, harassment and/or intimidation. They can be filed in Superior, District or Probate and Family Courts or at the police station where the offense(s) occurred.
In divorce proceedings and after the defendant spouse has been served with the Complaint for Divorce, a temporary restraining order is imposed upon both parties whereby they cannot waste any marital assets or accumulate additional debt. In order to use a marital credit card, funds, or obtain money from retirement accounts for the purpose of hiring a divorce attorney or to pay marital bills, a party MUST obtain Court approval to do so, so as not to be found in violation of the restraining order.
Filing a Restraining Order
It is not uncommon during or prior to divorce proceedings for one spouse to seek a restraining order against the other and allege physical/verbal abuse, harassment, and/or threatening behavior. The Probate and Family Court has the ability to modify Orders issued from the Superior and District Courts. A Judge will likely find there is enough evidence to issue an initial, temporary order, and will then schedule a hearing for both parties to appear and argue why an extended order should or should not be issued. If an extension is allowed, it will be allowed for one year or less; the parties may return on the date the order is to expire and request it be vacated or extended permanently. The orders can also be modified or vacated, but only by the Court.
The terms of the order are case-specific, but, most commonly, the Judge will require the defendant to:
- Refrain from abusing the plaintiff
- Refrain from harassing or intimidating the plaintiff
- Refrain from contacting the plaintiff, directly or indirectly and through any means including cell phone, Facebook, email, etc.
- Refrain from contacting the plaintiff's children, even if they are the defendant's children
- Stay away from the plaintiff's residence, place of employment and other addresses the plaintiff requests
- Stay away from the children's school
- Refrain from possessing any firearms, and relinquish any firearms, ammunition, weapons, and FID card to the local police station
Restraining Order Violation Penalties
Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense and carries a jail sentence. Most defendants fail to understand that the burden is on them to avoid contacting the plaintiff – even if the plaintiff initiates the contact. If facing a restraining order violation it may be in your best interest to contact a Massachusetts criminal lawyer.
If you believe you are in need of a restraining order, you should immediately contact the police. It may help your You deserve to be represented by an experienced Massachusetts divorce attorney with experience in all areas of family law.
Kathleen A. Delaney, Esq. will provide the legal support, knowledge and skills you need. She passionately advocates for her clients to obtain the best possible solution in an economically efficient manner. She will consult with you throughout the process to answer your questions, and give you realistic and practical explanations of your options.
If you have children, Woburn Family Kathleen A. Delaney, Esq. understands that their best interests coincide with your need to be financially and emotionally secure during and after the process so that you can provide for them. When you are vulnerable, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side so that you are not taken advantage of by your spouse and/or the legal process.
Conveniently located in Woburn center, contact us for a complimentary consultation:
Disclaimer - The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.