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Paternity Cases and Protection from Abuse

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed September 2023

In a paternity case, the court can issue a temporary order or final judgment that includes a orders to protect a party or child. It can order a party to vacate (leave) the home and not to contact a party or child. It can issue a restraining a party to protect a party or child.

This restraining order is similar to an abuse prevention order (209A). It is a criminal offense to violate the sections of the order that include no abuse and staying away. The order is entered into statewide registries so that police have access to the order.

If both parents have signed the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form and you need to go to court to get a vacate, restraining, or no contact order, you file a Complaint for Support-Custody-Parenting Time and check the box in paragraph 7 next to the words "prohibit the defendant from imposing any restraint on the personal liberty of ..."  You also file the Acknowledgment.

If the father has not acknowledged paternity and you need a protective order, you file a Complaint to Establish Paternity and check the box in paragraph 6 next to the words "prohibit the defendant from imposing any restraint on the personal liberty of ..." 

To get a temporary order, you file a motion along with an affidavit and proposed order.

For more information see Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 209C, section 15.

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