If there's one thing that you should know about abuse, it's that even if it's not physical, it can leave a lasting impression on both you and your kids' lives. It can leave you a shell of the person you once were, taking away your zest for life. You don't have to let abuse ruin your life, though. A restraining order can help you put an end to it.
Two primary types of protection orders exist in Massachusetts, each with unique eligibility requirements.
Harassment Prevention Orders
An individual requesting a Harassment Prevention Order's imposition must be a Massachusetts resident and prove that their alleged harasser carried out at least three acts.
The petitioner must be able to prove that their alleged abuser intended to damage property or abuse, intimidate or cause someone else to fear them to be eligible to file for such an order. The applicant must also show that their alleged abuser's actions were both willful and malicious as well.
Abuse Prevention Orders
You can apply for an Abuse Prevention Order, whether you used to live in Massachusetts, but had to leave the jurisdiction to escape abuse or whether you still live here.
Both you and your alleged abuser must be in a significant dating relationship, married or share kids in common if you wish to apply for an Abuse Prevention Order. You may also qualify to petition the court for such an order if you and your abuser are related to one another by blood or marriage or reside in the same home.
The court will also require you to meet one additional requirement to apply for an Abuse Prevention Order here in Lowell. You will need to prove that your alleged abuser made you fear immediate and severe physical harm or that they've hurt you before to qualify for this order. You may be eligible for one if you can produce evidence that your alleged abuser previously threatened you or forced you to engage in sexual activity.
There are instances in which a Lowell family law judge may order the imposition of either restraining order without giving your alleged abuser any prior notice. Situations like this often happen if applicants can prove that there's some immediate threat of danger, though. A family law attorney can go over the different restraining and protective orders and advise you whether you qualify for one under existing Massachusetts laws.