Abuse Prevention and Restraining Orders


Domestic Violence - 209A Abuse Prevention Orders

At the North Shore family law firm of Annette L. Baker & Associates, we advise and represent clients who are involved on either side of a domestic violence issue. As a former advocate for domestic violence victims, Annette Baker understands the urgency of family violence problems and can help you find the protection you need for you and your children. As an experienced divorce lawyer, she knows how often domestic violence is alleged in order to achieve an unfair advantage in child custody or visitation disputes. Regardless which side of the case you're on, Annette Baker can help you understand your rights and practical options. Contact her office in Beverly for more information about abuse prevention orders, restraining orders, and other family violence issues.

Violating a Civil Restraining Order is a Criminal Offense- Beware

If you have been charged with domestic violence or served with a restraining order, we urge you to contact a lawyer immediately. Not only do you deserve to have your side of the story developed and presented in court, you need to understand in clear terms just what you can or cannot do under the terms of a 209A order. A violation of an abuse prevention order is a criminal offense, and is not very hard to commit accidentally or for innocent reasons. While any domestic violence problem will complicate a divorce case, a conviction for violating a restraining order may create additional complications in regard to your access to your children.

Abuse Prevention Orders in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Act (MAPA) protects persons who have experienced violence, abuse, or serious threats from "family or household members", who are broadly defined to include former spouses, parents of a child together, former residents of the same house or apartment, or people in a dating relationship. A person who has been assaulted, stalked, harassed, or threatened by a "family or household member" can apply for an emergency protective order or a temporary abuse prevention order without notice to the alleged perpetrator. If the court issues a temporary order, a hearing will be scheduled within 10 business days. The person restrained under the order will then have the chance to tell his or her side of the story, and the court will decide whether to keep the order in place.

Restraining orders issued under MAPA are also known as 209A orders, after the chapter of the Massachusetts General Laws where the law is codified. Restraining orders can also issue under different statutes in similar circumstances of violence or harassment by neighbors, coworkers, or other persons who are not covered by MAPA. At the law firm of Annette L. Baker & Associates, we know how to protect your interests in obtaining a restraining order against an abusive spouse or family member, which can include and order for visitation or other issues relating to the children for child support and other provisions beyond a simple prohibition of contact.

For highly professional and dependable advice about restraining orders and domestic violence problems both in and out of divorce, contact the office of Annette L. Baker & Associates in Beverly.