What happens after I file the papers?

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

What do I do after I fill out the forms?

After you fill out the forms, give them to the clerk.

The Probation Department will run a "check" of the abusive person's criminal history. They will find out if there have been any other protective orders against him. After the probation department runs their "check", the clerk will bring your forms and the information from the Probation Department into the courtroom.

Then you will go to the courtroom for a "hearing." The courtroom is where you talk to the judge.

What will happen in the courtroom?

In the courtroom, you will have an "ex-parte" hearing. “Ex parte” means that you will talk to the judge without the abusive person there. The judge will look at the forms that you filled out and read your statement.

The judge may ask you questions about why you need a 209A protective order. Tell the judge what happened. Talk about the facts that you wrote down in your statement. If you brought police reports, medical records, or pictures about the abuse, show them to the judge.

If there is an advocate with you, the judge may let the advocate talk for you. The judge may ask her questions about your case. Or the judge may let the advocate stand with you, but may want you to do the talking.

The judge will tell you right away if she is going to give you the protective order.

If the judge decides to give you a protective order, she will fill out and sign an Abuse Prevention Order form.

See a Sample Abuse Prevention Order - page 1, page 2.