Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas

Texas Temporary Restraining Orders

Just as its name suggests a TRO “restrains” by specifying actions that a particular spouse involved in a divorce process must not engage in.  A TRO is meant to prohibit a party from behaving in a certain way or taking certain actions. These orders are issued by the court to protect property and children while the divorce case is still pending.  However, a TRO does not have any effect on the divorce or on a child support case involved in the divorce.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A TRO

Either party in a family law case can ask for temporary orders by filing a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, Temporary Injunction and Temporary Orders. You can apply for a TRO without any notice to the other party affected by the order, and the court can make decision about a TRO without requiring you and your spouse to be present. After filing the judge will have a temporary orders hearing and then make temporary orders.  An affidavit or sworn testimony will also be required in the following situations:

  • When seeking to attach a child
  • Require a child to be taken into the possession of another party or person designated by the court
  • When you want to deny the other parent access to the child

These orders will last until a final order is signed by the judge. Normally a TRO lasts for 14 days unless the court decides to dissolve or extend it.  A notice for a hearing must be contained in the TRO and the hearing must take place within the 14 days after the TRO is granted. It is up to the court to determine whether the terms of the TRO can be made into a temporary injunction. However, for the TRO to be effective, the respondent must receive the notice of the TRO. This order can be delivered through personal service and other methods.

Effects of a TRO

A TRO may prevent a spouse from doing the following:

  • Making withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Selling or alienating property
  • Incurring debt
  • Harassing the other party
  • Removing child from a certain school or daycare
  • Changing or altering the name of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy
  • Opening mail or communication addressed to the other party
  • Refusing to disclose the amount or location of certain property
  • Intentionally damaging or tampering or destroying property to create substantial loss or substantial inconvenience to the other party
  • Entering a safe deposit box of either party

A TRO can even order a parent to stay away from a child until a hearing can be held. However, TROs are only valid against the other parent and are not binding on a third party such as a child care provider, bank and so on. Texas Family Code Section 6.501 outlines the kinds of behaviors that a TRO can be issued to restrain. If you are in immediate danger it is important to call the police. You should also contact a family law attorney if you want to apply for a TRO.

Texas Family Code 105.001

(a) In a suit, the court may make a temporary order, including the modification of a prior temporary order, for the safety and welfare of the child, including an order:
(1) for the temporary conservatorship of the child;
(2) for the temporary support of the child;
(3) restraining a party from disturbing the peace of the child or another party;
(4) prohibiting a person from removing the child beyond a geographical area identified by the court; or
(5) for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions under this section shall be granted without the necessity of an affidavit or verified pleading stating specific facts showing that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result before notice can be served and a hearing can be held. Except as provided by Subsection (h), an order may not be rendered under Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (5) except after notice and a hearing. A temporary restraining order or temporary injunction granted under this section need not:
(1) define the injury or state why it is irreparable;
(2) state why the order was granted without notice; or
(3) include an order setting the cause for trial on the merits with respect to the ultimate relief requested.-Tx Fam Code 105.001

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