If you have been subjected to abuse by a spouse or intimate partner you may request the court to order the abuse to stop by requesting a Protective Order/Restraining Order. A Protective Order contains provisions to restrain the abuser from further acts of abuse including to:
- Direct the abuser to leave your household
- Prevent the abuser from entering you residence, school, and/or place of employment
- Prevent harassment of you or your family members
- Grant exclusive possession of your residence
- Award custody of children
- Provide for financial support
You do not have to be married to or even have lived with the person who abused you to utilize this law. You do not have to file for divorce; you do not need a lawyer; and you do not have to pay any court costs or sheriff's fees.
How to get a Protective Order:
To obtain a Protective Order you must file a Petition for Restraining Order for Protection against Domestic Violence with the court. This petition explains to the judge whom you need protection from and exactly what protection you need. The court clerk will help you fill out the proper forms. You can file this paperwork with the court that has jurisdiction where you currently live, or if you have fled, you may file with the court that has jurisdiction where the abuse occurred, or where the abuser lives. Residents of Plaistow can go to either of these two courts during court hours to file a petition.
Plaistow District Court Rockingham County Family Court
14 Elm Street 10 Route 125
Plaistow, NH 03865 Brentwood, NH 03833
(603) 382-4651 (603) 642-6314
*If you are in immediate danger of domestic abuse and no court is open, you may get a protective order by contacting the nearest police department. A police officer can help you fill out the proper form and reach a judge by telephone. If the judge feels you are in immediate danger, he/she can issue a protective order over the phone. This Emergency Order will only be effective until the close of business on the next regular court business day. For the protection to remain in effect, you must go to the nearest district or superior court before the close of the next business day to ask for a new temporary order.
If the judge finds there is cause and need for protection he/she will issue a Temporary Protective Order which will be faxed by the court to the police to serve on the abuser. The court and police will keep your address/personal information confidential throughout this process.
A Hearing on the Petition will be scheduled within thirty days of filing. However, the Defendant has the right to request a five day hearing. In that case, the Court will reschedule the hearing within five days after filing the Petition and provide notice to both parties. At the hearing, you will be required to testify before a judge about what abuse has happened and why a Final Protective Order should be ordered. The abuser will have an opportunity to provide testimony to the judge as well. If able, you should bring witnesses, medical records, police records, and any other official documents with you for the judge to see.
You should also make sure to tell the judge:
- If you have children, whether or not you wish to have them with you, and if you want the abuser to be able to have visitation.
- If you want exclusive use of any joint property, including your residence, for the children and yourself.
- If you lost money because of the attack, how much you lost and what for exactly.
- If you would like the abuser to attend Batterer’s Intervention Programming
After the hearing the judge will make a decision based on all the testimony and evidence provided. If the judge finds that there is a need for protection a Final Protective Order will be granted. This order will remain in effect for a stated period of time not to exceed one (1) year. After the completion of the time period, a Final Protective Order can be extended upon request to the court.
For additional assistance contact "Haven" at 1-603-994-7233, which provides a 24-hour crisis phone line, emergency shelter, legal advocacy, support groups, and educational programs or click here to visit their website.