Restraining Orders (Domestic Violence Deterrence)
Deterring Domestic Violence and Abuse with a Court Order – the TRO
What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?
A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is an order issued by a court that specifically restrains the Respondent from threatening, harassing, or harm his/her family members. The Order can cover every member of the family, and “family” is defined very broadly in these situations. In Texas, “family” for the purposes of a judge issuing a restraining order can include spouses, relatives by blood, relatives by marriage, ex-spouses, parents, children, foster children, and any member of the household. Anyone living in the home can be considered “family” for purposes of a TRO.
A TRO also serves to preserve the status quo of the marital estate and the status of the children for the first two weeks (14 days) after the divorce petition has been filed. The Temporary Restraining Order prevents either spouse from stopping utilities, selling or hiding property, moving to another city or state, taking the kids out of day care or school, changing the car registrations or titles to the house, charging up credit cards, cancelling insurance (life, health, home), hiding, harming or threatening the family pets (dogs, cats, etc.), cashing out retirement accounts, cancelling credit cards, closing bank accounts, locking out either spouse from the family home, etc.
Standing Orders Effective November 1, 2007 – TROs Are Automatic in Divorces Filed in Dallas County, Denton County, Collin County, Rockwall County, and Ellis County
Temporary Restraining Orders are so important in divorce proceedings that in the majority of cases, TROs were routinely being requested by petitioners. Seeing this practice and the need for protection during the beginning of the divorce process, the District Court Judges of the following counties have ordered that TROs, which they have labeled “standing orders” are to be entered into in every divorce filed in Dallas County, Denton County, Collin County, Rockwall County, and Ellis County (Dallas instituted November 1, 2007 with other counties following shortly thereafter).
Does the Respondent Spouse Have to Know About the Hearing to Get The TRO?
No. You file an application for a restraining order “ex parte” which will allow the judge to issue a temporary order that will be valid for a maximum of 14 days. The spouse will not know about this process, he/she will learn of it when the Order is served upon him/her.
There will then be a hearing where the respondent spouse will be allowed to appear and argue their side of the situation. At that time, the judge will decide temporary custody of the children, temporary use of the house and cars, temporary possession and access to the children (visitation), temporary spousal support, temporary child support, and temporary control of bank accounts, etc.
TROs are usually considered separately by the court from issues of domestic violence or spouses who are abusive (drinking, verbally abusive, physically threatening, physically harming the spouse or children) and judges may issue “Protective Orders” at the same time that TROs are put in place.
We’re Here to Help You
Please don’t hesitate to call or email for a paid initial legal consultation if you are involved in a situation of domestic violence. You can be helped, and it is best to take action as soon as possible. The Law Office of Michael Granada understands how upsetting and terrifying these situations can be, and we’re ready to help.