How to deal with that restraining order

Restraining orders or 209A orders are very common.   One moment you think it can never happen, the next you are being served with a restraining order.  Let’s face it, most of you will be shocked when you are served and upset and angry later on.  The important thing is to understand what is going on so you can best protect yourself.  Let’s take a look at the issues.

 The most important issue perhaps is service.  Were you properly served with the restraining order?  To violate a restraining order you must know that one exist and you were properly served with said order.  Now, most orders that you receive before a hearing are temporary in nature.  The order usually only lasts for a short period of time; usually seven days.  At the end of the temporary restraining order, there is usually a date to appear in court for a restraining order hearing. 

 What is the restraining order hearing?  The restraining order hearing is held to allow the judge to determine whether to extend the restraining order or to terminate the order.  At this hearing, the judge will first read the affidavit from the complainant.  Then the judge will ask you if you are contesting the order.  If you are contesting the order, the judge will usually allow for testimony.  The complainant is usually allowed to tell their side of the story first.  Then the judge will usually give you an opportunity to voice your story. 

 The ruling.  The judge will make a determination of whether the restraining order should be extended.  The time period the restraining order should be extended.  And the conditions of the restraining order.

 Protect yourself.  You need to be careful of what you say in court.  The hearing is recorded and anything you say can be used against you further down the road.  If you have criminal charges pending against you, then you need to talk to an attorney.  If you have pending charges it isn’t wise to testify, especially without an attorney being there. 

 Abide by the order. It is important that you abide by all the terms of the restraining order.  Many people get themselves into trouble because they believe it is okay to contact the complainant.  If one of the terms of the restraining order is no contact, you cannot contact the complainant.  If you have a restraining order against you and the complainant contacts you, you are still violating the restraining order if you contact them. 

 The order itself is civil in nature, but violation of that order is a criminal offense.  If convicted of violation of a restraining order you can be sentenced to a jail term.  So be smart, protect yourself, abide by the order and hire an attorney to help.

For more information: visit or contact me at 508-808-8902

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. If there is a custody order through Probate and Family Court, please do not try to have it changed by filing a 209a through District Court. When child custody is involved, always go through Probate and Family Court.

    • That is a very good point. Do you know how the court deals with multiple restraining orders in a divorce or child custody case?

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