Bridges can provide you with general information about obtaining and understanding a restraining order. This information should not be considered legal advice. If you have questions about the law or your rights, you should contact an attorney. Bridges has a list of legal resources on our website.

If you are in an abusive relationship and are in fear for your physical safety, you have the option to try to obtain a restraining order. You can file Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) paperwork in your local district court (Nashua, Merrimack, Milford) or Hillsborough County Superior Court. A Bridges advocate can meet you at court to provide support and information in obtaining your protective order. A Bridges advocate can also provide support at your Final Restraining Order hearing.

About Your Temporary Restraining Order

Your TRO is a legal document. The following may provide you with answers to some questions.

Things to Remember for the Final Restraining Order Hearing

Dress neatly and be courteous. The way you present yourself is important. Remain calm and avoid arguing. Listen carefully to what is said and think a second before speaking. If there is anything that you do not understand, ask to have it explained. Make arrangements for childcare for the day of your final hearing.

Be sure to bring:
Records of hospital and/or medical treatment required as a result of the abuse Police reports of incidents of violence Photographs (private or taken by the police) of bruises and/or cuts resulting from the abuse A list of incidents and a list of requests for relief from the court (i.e. child support) so that you have something written to refer to in case you are too nervous to remember everything in detail Any witnesses to the abuse or injuries Letters from the defendant and/or answering machine messages left by the defendant that include threats or that confirm the abuse Information on your and the defendant's earnings and financial situation (if you are requesting child support, also have a Child Support Affidavit from the Clerk of Court) Documentation to support any request for financial compensation from the defendant (i.e. doctor's bills, prescriptions, repair bills, etc.) and copies of any joint bills which need to be addressed A list of weapons possessed by the defendant and, if possible, their whereabouts.

Have You Thought About Visitation?

If you and the defendant have children, visitation will be discussed at your final hearing. You may want to think about what sort of arrangement for visitation you would find acceptable. Keep in mind that the restraining order prohibits the defendant from having any contact with you. This should be taken into account when making arrangement for visitation and exchanging the children.

Safety Tips and Other Considerations

The following are some precautions you may consider taking:

You may be eligible for financial assistance to assist you in making your home secure, moving, or paying necessary bills through the Victim's Compensation Program. A Bridges advocate can assist you in filling out the paperwork.