A temporary restraining order (“TRO”) is a court order that prevents or “restrains” someone from taking certain actions during a limited period of time. Many people confuse TROs with Protective Orders, which are used to protect an individual who has been a victim of domestic or household abuse. For information on how to apply for a protective order, see our blog post on how to file a protective order from home at https://www.mcneelylaw.com/newsroom/how-to-file-for-a-protective-order-from-home?rq=protect. To learn about how to protect your assets and finances by applying for a TRO, read on.
When are TROs issued?
TROs are issued pre-trial. To get a TRO, a party must petition the court for the TRO. The petition must persuade the court that the petitioning party will suffer irreparable harm if a TRO is not issued. If the judge believes a TRO is necessary to prevent immediate harm, the judge can issue a TRO without a hearing, and without informing the other party or parties.
How long do TROs last?
A TRO is intended to be a stopgap measure that lasts only until the court can hold a full hearing on the issues. The effective period varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the TRO’s issuance. TROs remain effective until dissolved by the court or automatically by statute. The duration of a TRO can be extended by the court as well.
TROs in a divorce
In a divorce, TROs may also be issued to protect a couple’s assets and finances, or to disallow the parties to remove their children from the state during the divorce proceedings. These types of TROs are intended to preserve the status quo while the divorce is ongoing. For example, a divorce TRO may restrain one or both parties from:
• selling, transferring, or moving assets;
• assuming large debts;
• making large purchases;
• changing auto or health insurance policies;
• changing beneficiaries on retirement accounts, life insurance, etc.; or
• removing children from the state.
TROs are an important tool in a court’s arsenal. If you or someone you know needs a TRO, you can apply for a TRO directly with the court clerk. Most courts offer self-help literature to assist you in the process. Additionally, the attorneys at McNeelyLaw can assist if you are unsure where to start or need other assistance.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.