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Restraining Orders

Why Get a Restraining Order

The issue of restraining orders comes up often in family law. People need restraining orders for a variety of reasons. Typically, it is because they have been abused in the relationship. Perhaps they have been physically abused, emotionally abused, financially abused, sexually abused, verbally abused, or otherwise.

How to Get a Restraining Order

To get a restraining order without an attorney, you would go to your local district court and fill out an application or a petition for a restraining order. Part of that petition is a form called an affidavit. An affidavit is simply your narrative of why you are seeking a restraining order.

When you look at the law, there are certain standards that you must meet in order to get a restraining order. One of the main standards is imminent risk of physical or emotional harm. What you want to write in the affidavit is not just your story, but the fact that you are in imminent risk of physical or emotional harm.

The court will be more likely to grant you a restraining order if you show that you have been physically, mentally, financially abused, have had sexual acts forced upon you, and that there is imminent risk of any of these things happening again.

Once you have finished filling out the petition for the restraining order and the affidavit, the judge will hear you right away. This is the case even on the weekend. On the weekend there is an emergency judge on call who hears restraining order cases. These judges can order a restraining order.

If you are a parent and you feel that your children are in danger from your spouse, partner, or any other person, you can seek a restraining order on your child’s behalf. You would do this by going to court, filling out a petition, but instead of seeking the restraining order on your own behalf, you are seeking it on behalf of your children. Again, the process would be the same. You would fill out the affidavit but instead of showing why you’re in danger or you’re in imminent risk of physical or emotional harm, you would indicate why your child or children are in imminent risk of physical or emotional harm.

For example, you may have a partner or a spouse who is physically assaulting or emotionally abusing your child and you want to protect them from this person. You would then indicate the reasons, the incidents that have taken place, the dates that the incidents have taken place, and you would ask the court for a restraining order. If the restraining order is allowed, it would be served on that person against whom you are seeking it, and that person would have the opportunity ten days later to come back and defend against a restraining order.

I am in a position to help those who are seeking restraining orders and those who are defending restraining orders. Just because someone has received a restraining order against you and you have been served, does not mean that it is going to be extended. Similarly, if you are someone who has sought a restraining order and it has been allowed, there are various ways you can get it extended for six months and usually a year.

If you need help attaining a restraining order or defending against a restraining order, I would be happy to assist. You can reach me at marlene@marleneshiner.com or 617-875-2842.