Restraining Orders – Abuse-Prevention Orders (G.L. Ch. 209A)


We Can Help You With Restraining Orders

You don’t have to be a victim of domestic abuse – let us help you obtain legal protection from abuse under the Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Law, G.L. Ch. 209A – commonly referred to as a restraining order or 209A order.  Call or email today to find out if you may be entitled to pursue an order of protection.  With over 20 years experience with domestic abuse issues, including with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Advocate Program, we can provide you with compassionate, zealous advocacy in order to protect your safety and that of your children.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP TODAY, and contact our office for a free consultation.  Call or use the email form to the right.


For more information, see excerpts from the Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Law, below.

M.G.L. Ch. 209A defines “abuse” as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

(a) attempting to cause or causing physical harm;

(b) placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;

(c) causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.

The law further defines “Family or household members” as persons who:

(a) are or were married to one another;

(b) are or were residing together in the same household;

(c) are or were related by blood or marriage;

(d) having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; or

(e) are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship, which shall be adjudged by district, probate or Boston municipal courts consideration of the following factors:

(1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship.

A person suffering from abuse from an adult or minor family or household member may file a complaint in the court requesting protection from such abuse, including, but not limited to, the following orders:

(a) ordering the defendant to refrain from abusing the plaintiff, whether the defendant is an adult or minor;

(b) ordering the defendant to refrain from contacting the plaintiff, unless authorized by the court, whether the defendant is an adult or minor;

(c) ordering the defendant to vacate forthwith and remain away from the household, multiple family dwelling, and workplace. Notwithstanding the provisions of section thirty-four B of chapter two hundred and eight, an order to vacate shall be for a fixed period of time, not to exceed one year, at the expiration of which time the court may extend any such order upon motion of the plaintiff, with notice to the defendant, for such additional time as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff from abuse;

(d) awarding the plaintiff temporary custody of a minor child; provided, however, that in any case brought in the probate and family court a finding by such court by a preponderance of the evidence that a pattern or serious incident of abuse, as defined in section 31A of chapter 208, toward a parent or child has occurred shall create a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests of the child to be placed in sole custody, shared legal custody or shared physical custody with the abusive parent. Such presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence that such custody award is in the best interests of the child. For the purposes of this section, an “abusive parent” shall mean a parent who has committed a pattern of abuse or a serious incident of abuse.