The large majority of restraining orders in Massachusetts are issued by the District Courts. The judges in these courts have very little sensitivity towards issues such as access to children, access to one”s assets in the house, and other matters that the family courts usually consider.
So it often happens that the hapless recipient of a restraining order from the District Court is left with no way to see his children, to get his car keys, or to access his bank accounts. Meanwhile, he has to fight in two courts — the family courts for most matters, and the District Court for the restraining order, with double the court appearances, attorney fees, etc.
A pilot program will be tried in Norfolk Country to improve this problem. Basically, the pilot program allows a family court judge to transfer the restraining order matter out of the District Court and into the family court. Although the family courts are no panacea for restraining order injustices, they are usually considerably better than the District Courts.
So if you become the recipient of a restraining order from a District Court in Norfolk County, immediately request your family court judge to transfer the matter into his or her court.
The pilot program begins Monday, May 4, 2009, and will last for twelve months. The program will be reviewed after six months to see if it needs to be modified and to determine if it should be expanded to other counties.
You or your attorney can learn more by asking to see Administrative Order 09-1 of the Trial Court.