How Quickly Can I Take Out a Restraining Order Against My Boyfriend?

If you fear that your boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, husband, or ex-husband may cause you serious physical harm, you may want to obtain a restraining order against him. Fortunately, the process to obtain a restraining order is relatively quick and easy. And it’s free. But what comes next? A simple piece of paper is rarely the end to aggression, especially when it’s fueled by jealousy or desire. Read on to find out what kind of restraining order you need, how quickly you can get it, and what additional steps you can take to protect yourself.

In the state of Massachusetts, there are two types of restraining orders – abuse prevention orders and harassment prevention orders. The type you need is dependent on your relationship with the person you wish to obtain a restraining order against. In the case of a current or ex-boyfriend, you are likely eligible to obtain an abuse prevention order. See the requirements for each type of order below.

An Abuse Prevention Order is Available If:

  • You are or were married to the person
  • You are or were living with the person
  • The person is related to you by marriage or blood
  • The person is the parent of your child
  • You have been in an intimate relationship with the person


  • The person caused, or attempted to cause you physical harm
  • The person caused you to fear that you would be physically harmed
  • The person forced you to have sex, either physically or by threatening you

A Harassment Prevention Order is Available If:

  • The person has committed at least three acts that were:
  1. Willful and malicious – to be cruel, hostile, or for revenge
  2. Aimed at you
  3. Intended to make you fearful, to intimidate you, or to abuse you or cause damage to your property


  • The person forced you to have sex, either physically or by threatening you


  • The person committed one of the crimes below against you
  1. Rape or statutory rape
  2. Indecent assault and battery
  3. Assault with the intent to rape
  4. Enticement of a child
  5. Stalking
  6. Harassment
  7. Drugging for sexual intercourse

So, you’ve determined what type of restraining order you need. What’s next? How long will it take to obtain the order? If you are in immediate danger, call the police. The police will handle the immediate danger and will likely advise you to go to Court. Once the immediate danger has passed, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Boston defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you request a restraining order by filing something called a Complaint for Protection from Abuse.

Ex Parte Restraining Order

In urgent situations, a restraining order can be issued ex parte, which means “by or for one party”. Basically, this means that only one party – you – must appear in front of the judge to issue the initial order. You will be given temporary protection from the individual in question, until the full hearing occurs. The full hearing is usually scheduled swiftly following the issuance of the temporary order. Ex parte (one-sided) orders are issued when the urgency of the situation deems it necessary to proceed before notifying the other party.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas

If you are concerned that a boyfriend or spouse may cause you physical harm, it is in your best interest to obtain legal help immediately. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have extensive experience in these types of cases. Our skilled attorneys understand the urgency and sensitivity of these situations, and we will help you move through this process as quickly as possible. Your safety is our priority. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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