What happens when a 209A restraining order ends?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

Your 209A restraining order is only good for a set amount of time. For example, it might be good for 2 weeks, 6 months or for 1 year.

Look at your most recent order to find the expiration date. A hearing is scheduled on the same date your order expires. You must attend that hearing if you still need the restraining order. If you not attend the hearing, the order will expire at the end of the day. 

Remember

If your restraining order expires, all parts of the order expire with it.

This includes orders that the defendant:

  • not abuse you.
  • not contact you or your children.
  • stay away from your home, children’s school, or place of worship, etc.

and

  • Orders about custody, visitation, and child support.

If the judge did not extend your order and you still need an order for custody, support, or visitation:

  • File a new case in the Probate & Family Court
  • File a motion for temporary orders for custody, child support, parenting time, or visitation, and
  • Schedule a hearing date on your motion for temporary orders when you file the new case.

The reason you file a motion for temporary orders and schedule a hearing is that it could take weeks to months before a judge hears your motion but it can take years to get a final decision in these cases.  

For more information about asking for a temporary order, see What can I do if I need a court order right away?

If the judge does not extend your order and you need a restraining order in the future you can file a new 209A complaint.

You do not have to wait a set amount of time before you file another complaint, but you need to show the judge that the abuse has gotten worse.