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Faq & More >> Articles >> Articles about Divorce >> Temporary Restraining Orders: Why and When You Need Them
Temporary Restraining Orders: Why and When You Need Them
April 13, 2016

Drawing pad with the word divorce written on it and a broken red heart.One of the most common concerns for a party considering filing for divorce is how their spouse will react when served with the divorce papers. Will they empty the bank accounts? Will they start harassing the filing spouse? Will they keep the children from the filing parent? Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are a useful tool to protect people and property from these types of behavior. This article explains what a TRO is and discusses why and when they are needed in a divorce case.

A TRO is an order of the court that immediately prohibits the parties in a case from doing certain harmful things to each other, their children and their property. TROs are different from most court orders in one significant way. Before a family court judge signs an order that the parties disagree about, there usually must be a hearing on the order with both parties having been properly notified of the hearing. This allows both sides to present their evidence to the judge before the judge rules. However, courts grant TROs without having a hearing.

Because TROs can be granted without a hearing, they are limited in what they can do. The standard TRO in a divorce case, through specific injunctions, prohibits one or both parties from destroying or getting rid of their marital assets, from destroying evidence, from harassing each other and from acting in a manner harmful to their children. If the application for the TRO is accompanied by an affidavit sufficiently stating facts that show a child is in immediate danger, the court can also grant a TRO that prevents a parent from having possession of the child or that orders possession of the child be given to the court or someone else. TROs can't step up child support, can't decide conservatorship and can't award attorneys fees. These issues can only be decided by the court after a hearing.

TROs are necessary in high conflict cases where the parties do not get along and there's a concern one party might try to get rid of assets and evidence or might harass the other party. In these cases, if you are the party filing the case, you should request the TRO in your original petition. If you are the party being sued for divorce, then you should request the TRO in your counter petition only after trying and failing to work out a deal on the TRO with the other side. As long as the TRO contains the standard prohibitions, the judges in Harris County and Fort Bend County will sign off on them usually on the same day or the day after they're submitted to the court. TROs only last for 14 days and, upon request, can be renewed once for an additional 14 days. Therefore, it's smart practice to have a hearing on temporary orders scheduled before the 28 days of the TRO expires. TROs become effective on the non-filing spouse when they are served on the non-filing spouse.

One final thought is that TROs aren't always necessary and requesting a TRO sometimes can work against you. If the parties get along and there is no concern either party will misbehave upon finding out a divorce has been filed, then a TRO is probably unnecessary and can make the divorce case combative for no good reason.

If you believe you will need a temporary restraining order in your divorce, contact Sugar Land divorce attorney Chikeersha Puvvada at 832-317-6705 or online today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

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