Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Notice

You are here

Asking the court for a restraining order or harassment prevention order during COVID-19

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed July 16, 2020

How do I get a new 209A restraining order or a 258E harassment prevention order while the courts are only open for emergencies?

A 209A restraining order (209A) or a 258E harassment prevention order (258E) is an emergency.

If you need a 209A restraining order you can fill out a 209A application on your phone or computer. Then get in touch with your court to find out how to file the forms.

If you need a new 209A or 258E when the courts are closed, weekends and holidays, and outside of business hours (4:30pm-8:30am) when the courts are closed normally, see If the Courts are Closed.

If you need a 209A or 258E during regular court hours, Monday – Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm, call the clerk at the District Court, Boston Municipal Court, or Probate or Family court where you need to file to find out how to ask the court for orders you need. Some courts are hearing cases over the telephone, some are doing video conferencing, and some courts are still letting people walk in the door. The clerk may tell you to go to a police station to file your forms.

If no one answers at the court (which may be because that specific court is closed entirely), call

  1. the Trial Court Help Line at (833) 912-6878. The Help Line will be staffed from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, or
  2. the police station in the town where the court is located as they may have specific instructions from the court on how to get an order.

If you would like to speak to an advocate contact your local domestic violence program. Call SafeLink at (877) 785-2020 to learn the name and number of the agency closest to you.

Use the same forms and fill them out as you would if we were not in a Coronavirus emergency. See How do I ask for a 209A? or How do I ask for 258E?

Who to call for help

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
Monday-Friday
between
9am and 4pm