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February 26, 2024 Clouds | 54°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 15: Temporary orders; enforcement; information required to be given to petitioner; domestic violence record search

Section 15. At any time pursuant to an action under this chapter, the court may upon motion of any party or on its own motion issue a temporary order or final judgment including a vacate, restraining or no-contact order to protect a party or child. Any such order or judgment, including a custody provision if issued by a probate court, shall be served as specified under sections four and seven of chapter two hundred and nine A and shall contain the following statement: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. Criminal violations of such orders shall be enforced pursuant to section seven of chapter two hundred and nine A.

The court may, in like manner, upon motion of any party or of a next friend on behalf of the child, and upon notice to the other parties, enter temporary orders providing for the support of the child or relative to the care and custody of the child or visitation rights with the child in accordance with the provisions of sections nine and ten.

All orders entered pursuant to this section, unless modified or revoked pursuant to section twenty or twenty-three of chapter two hundred and nine C, shall continue in force and be incorporated in the final judgment. Violations of any order or judgment may be punished as contempt.

Upon the filing of a request for an order to protect a party or a child under the provisions of the first paragraph of this section, a petitioner shall be informed that proceedings hereunder are civil in nature and that violations of orders issued hereunder are criminal in nature. Further, a petitioner shall be given information prepared by the appropriate district attorney's office that other criminal proceedings may be available and such petitioner shall be instructed by such district attorney's office relative to the procedures required to initiate criminal proceedings including, but not limited to, a complaint for a violation of section forty-three of chapter two hundred and sixty-five. Whenever possible, a petitioner shall be provided with such information in the petitioner's native language.

When considering a request for relief pursuant to this section, a judge shall cause a search to be made of the records contained within the statewide domestic violence record keeping system maintained by the office of the commissioner of probation and shall review the resulting data to determine whether the named defendant has a civil or criminal record involving domestic or other violence. Upon receipt of information that an outstanding warrant exists against the named defendant, a judge shall order that the appropriate law enforcement officials be notified and shall order that any information regarding the defendant's most recent whereabouts shall be forwarded to such officials. In all instances where an outstanding warrant exists, a judge shall make a finding, based upon all of the circumstances, as to whether an imminent threat of bodily injury exists to the petitioner. In all instances where such an imminent threat of bodily injury is found to exist, the judge shall notify the appropriate law enforcement officials of such finding and such officials shall take all necessary actions to execute any such outstanding warrant as soon as is practicable.