Child custody and parenting time options when you’ve been abused

Learn about your options for child custody and parenting time orders if you've been abused.

Table of Contents

Immediate court order

If you've been abused, you can ask for an immediate court order protecting you and your child. In Massachusetts, this is called a restraining order or abuse prevention order or 209A. You can ask for this order if the other parent has:

  • Harmed or tried to harm you physically
  • Made you afraid that you will be harmed physically
  • Forced or pressured you to have sex

A protective order may temporarily decide custody and parenting time. You can ask for this type of order in the Probate and Family Court for your county, or in a District Court in your city or town.

Additional Resources

Child custody order

If you don't feel you need immediate protection, you can also follow the steps to get a child custody order. There are special laws that can provide you with additional protections if you're concerned about your safety or your child’s safety. It's highly recommended that you speak with an experienced lawyer if you've been abused.


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