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Filing Chapter 209A Restraining Order Forms

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created September 2019

Use our checklists to figure out the forms you need Image of forms

If you are using forms that are not in English, you will need the English forms also.

Get the forms

You can get the forms in English and 8 other languages:

Fill out the forms

Important

Wait to sign and date the forms until you give them to the clerk at the court.

At court

You can fill out the forms at court or take them away to fill out and bring them back to file later. Wait to sign and date the forms until you give them to the clerk at the court.

Online

When you go to court to file forms you downloaded, the clerk may ask you to copy over Pages 1 and 2 of the Complaint onto forms that have 3 sheets with carbon between them.

Forms in your language

If you are using forms that are not in English,

  • Fill in all forms that are in your language except the Affidavit.
  • Write your Affidavit in your language on the English AFFIDAVIT Form. The Affidavit form in your language explains what the English AFFIDAVIT asks you to do.
  • Use the forms in your language to fill out the English forms as best you can. If you need help translating your information for the English forms, the clerk will give you an interpreter when you go to file the forms.

Important

If you are working with a domestic violence advocate, ask them to call ahead to arrange a court interpreter.

If you are on your own, take the “Interpreter Services” chart to court with you. Show it to the clerk, and point to your language.

Filing the forms

Go to the court for the area where you live. If you moved away because you were being abused, you can still go to the court where you used to live. You can also go to the court for the area you live now.

If you have police reports, medical records, or pictures showing the abuse, bring them with you. But you do not need to have any of these things.

Give the forms you have filled out to the clerk at the court.

The clerk may ask you to copy over Pages 1 and 2 of the Complaint onto forms that have 3 sheets with carbon between them.

Clerks are not allowed to give you legal advice. They must not tell you what you should say on the forms.

How much does it cost?

Everything is free. There is no charge

  • to get the forms,
  • to file the forms, or
  • to use an interpreter.

Is there someone in the courthouse to help me fill out the forms for the 209A restraining order?

In some courts, the clerk will help you fill out these forms. But the clerk cannot go in front of the judge with you or give you any legal advice.

There may be an advocate in the courthouse who can help you with the paperwork and stand with you in front of the judge. Ask the court clerk if there is an advocate who can help you. The clerk will know.

If there is an advocate at the courthouse, the advocate will not be someone who works for the court. The advocate probably will not be a lawyer. The advocate may be:

  • a Victim/Witness Advocate from the District Attorney's (DA's) office; or
  • SAFEPLAN advocate. SAFEPLAN is a program of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA). SAFEPLAN advocates work with local domestic violence programs; or
  • an advocate from a domestic violence program/shelter or another social service agency.

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.

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