What Happens When the Order "Expires" (ends)?

Your order will only be good for a set amount of time. For example, it might be good for six months or for a year. When you read the order, you will see that it says when the order will expire (end).

When you get your order, you will also see that you have a court date set up for the day that your order expires. If you still want the order at that point, you can go back to court and ask the judge to make the order good for another year. It does not matter if anything new has happened between court hearings. What matters is if you are still afraid that the abusive person will harm you or your child.

If you do not go back to court on that day, your order will expire on that day.

Remember

Any orders for custody, child support or visitation that you had on the 209A protective order will also expire with the protective order.

If you want the custody, support, or visitation orders to continue but you do not want your 209A order to continue:

  • you must file a new case in the Probate & Family Court;
  • You must also file a motion for temporary custody, child support or parenting time or visitation orders when you file the new case. Temporary orders might allow you to keep the custody, support and visitation the same while you wait for your new case to be decided.

Can I get a permanent 209A protective order?

Yes. A judge can give you a permanent protective order.  The judge cannot make your first order permanent, but the judge can make the next order permanent. When your first order expires, you can ask the judge to give you a permanent order. You can also ask for a permanent order at later hearings, when you ask the court to extend the order for a second or third time.

Judges do not make orders permanent in most cases. They only make orders permanent when people need permanent orders. If you think you need a permanent order, tell the judge why you need it.

It is a good idea to talk to an advocate or a lawyer for more information about getting a permanent protective order. To talk to an advocate, contact SAFEPLAN. Call your local legal services office to see if you can get free legal help.

Produced by an AmeriCorps Project of Western Massachusetts Legal Services. Updated and revised by Attorney Jeff Wolf for MassLegalHelp
Last Updated February, 2012