How is a Personal Protection Order (PPO) Granted in Massachusetts

How is a Personal Protection Order (PPO) Granted in Massachusetts

A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a court order designed to protect individuals from harassment, abuse, or threats. It limits the actions of someone who poses a danger to the petitioner. Anyone experiencing abuse, harassment, or threats in Massachusetts can file for a PPO. This includes individuals in domestic relationships, such as spouses, partners, or family members, as well as those facing harassment from acquaintances or strangers.

How Do You File for a PPO?

To file for a PPO, the petitioner must go to the local courthouse and complete a complaint form. The form requires detailed information about the incidents of abuse or harassment, the respondent’s information, and any existing relationship between the parties.

After filing the complaint, the petitioner will have a hearing before a judge, usually on the same day. The judge will review the evidence and decide whether to issue a temporary PPO. If granted, the temporary order will provide immediate protection until a full hearing can be held.

A full hearing is scheduled within 10 days of the temporary PPO being issued. Both the petitioner and the respondent have the opportunity to present evidence and testify. The judge will then determine if a permanent PPO is warranted, which can last for up to one year and may be extended.

What Can a PPO Include?

A PPO can include provisions such as no-contact orders, orders to vacate a shared residence, and prohibitions on the respondent from coming near the petitioner’s home, workplace, or school. It can also include temporary custody arrangements for children.

Can the Terms of a PPO Be Changed?

Yes, either party can request changes to the PPO by filing a motion with the court. A judge will review the motion and may schedule a hearing to consider the requested changes.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File for a PPO?

While it is not mandatory to have a lawyer, having legal representation can be beneficial in navigating the process and ensuring that your rights are protected. Legal aid organizations can also provide assistance for those who cannot afford an attorney.


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