What Massachusetts Law Firm Dane Shulman Associates Says about Restraining Order Abuse and Divorce

Posted on March 31, 2018


Below is Massachusetts law firm Dane Shulman Associates writing about the game of false accusation. Lawyers know this happens. They know it very well.

Various feminist advocates doggedly assert that restraining order abuse, particularly to gain leverage in family court, is insignificant—or worse, that claims of it are merely men’s rights propaganda—and such assertions are made even by professors of law. Practitioners of law (the lawyers in the trenches, not the ivory tower) report otherwise.

Restraining Order Abuse in Divorce Cases” (emphases added):

Unfortunately, some people are abusing Massachusetts’ restraining order laws and using them as a divorce tactic. An individual involved in divorce proceedings may file a temporary restraining order against [his or her] spouse, alleging abuse of him or [her] or of the couple’s children. This would prevent the alleged abuser from having contact with his or her children during the 10-day temporary order, and if the allegations stick, the restraining order would last up to a year after the accusations were made. Often, such allegations are false, and only a way to put a wrench in the divorce proceedings and for the accusing spouse to gain custody of the children involved.

To prevent the restraining order from being extended, it is imperative that the alleged abuser present evidence [in] the second hearing that the allegations made against him or her are false. This is the first and only time an alleged abuser can present his or her case. If he or she fails to appear, chances are that the restraining order will be extended, and the accusing spouse will gain custody of the children.

A restraining order can have disastrous effects on the alleged abuser. The order is put on his or her criminal record, and any violation of the order results in criminal charges. The alleged abuser is also listed in the statewide Domestic Violence Registry, a record that never goes away. All of these actions greatly impact an alleged abuser’s ability to secure new employment, especially jobs for the government or jobs that involve working with children.

Massachusetts’ courts issue restraining orders to protect victims, not so the orders can be used as frivolous tactics to gain the upper hand in a divorce or a child custody matter. Restraining orders have serious consequences for the alleged abuser, and also for the relationship between the alleged abuser and his or her children, since the order could put strain on the parent-child relationship. A restraining order is something no one should consider obtaining without a serious, truthful cause.

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*One of the most outspoken critics of restraining orders, attorney Gregory Hession, also practices in Massachusetts.