Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Can a Restraining Order be Permanent?

In our last post we provided information on the three types of orders that can help protect someone from an abusive spouse.

In two scenarios these orders can be permanent:

An abuse prevention order under M.G.L. c. 209A, often referred to as a 209A or restraining order, can be ordered for any fixed period of time up to one year. If an ex-parte hearing (without the defendant) was held for the initial hearing, then another hearing will be set up within ten (10) days to give the defendant an opportunity to tell their side of the story. After that opportunity, the order can be extended for up to one year. At the extension hearing if the plaintiff appears, the court may extend the order for any additional time reasonably necessary to protect the plaintiff. This extension can be permanent if the circumstances warrant that decision.

In addition, pursuant to a divorce case under M.G.L. c. 208, § 18, the Probate & Family Court can order a husband or wife to refrain from placing any restraint on the personal liberty of the other. In Champagne v. Champagne, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court determined that this statute allowed for permanent orders pursuant to the broad language stating "to make such further order as it deems necessary to protect either party or their children, to preserve the peace or to carry out the purposes of this section relative to restraint on personal liberty."

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