Help! I Was Served With A Temporary Restraining Order

Many people call Hoppes & Cutrer very upset because they were served a petition for divorce that includes a temporary restraining order (TRO). With the negative connotation often associated with a TRO, it is only natural to think one related to your divorce is a bad thing. In most cases there is no need for alarm.

A TRO Is Common Administrative Practice In A Divorce

In most divorce cases in Tarrant County, it is common practice for a lawyer to include a TRO if there is a need for a temporary hearing. Without the TRO, the court has to wait for almost 30 days to schedule the hearing. Why? A quicker court date.

  • 20 or more days: In Texas, the law provides that a person who is served with a lawsuit (a petition for divorce) has to file an answer with the court within 20 days plus the first Monday. (If you have been served, start counting the day after you get served and count to the twentieth day. Then, jump to the next Monday. That is your deadline for filing an answer).
  • 14 days: If there is a TRO in place, the court has to schedule a hearing within 14 days. In divorce cases, it is often very important to resolve temporary issues quickly.

Living Arrangements Are One Example Of A Temporary Issue

A common reason for a temporary hearing involves determining which spouse will have to move out of the marital residence and when. A standard TRO:

  • Does not force anybody to move out of the marital residence. It normally states that you can't prevent your spouse from living there until the temporary hearing.
  • Does not keep parties from having contact with the children. It normally states that the party can't keep the other parent from seeing the children.
  • Prohibits certain actions related to property, such as selling property, hiding money or changing beneficiaries on insurance policies, among other things.
  • Prohibit certain behavior, such as abusing your spouse or children or making harassing or abusive comments.

Many people read a TRO and think that they are being accused of doing all the things listed. That could not be farther from the truth. If you have never done any of the things in the TRO, then just keep doing what you have been doing and make sure you go to the hearing.

When safety concerns are present, a judge might sign a TRO that forces one spouse to move out of the marital residence or stay away from the children until the hearing. This includes situations involving family violence or allegations that one spouse has put the children in danger or has actually harmed the children. A judge will not order these restrictions without an affidavit from the other spouse detailing the alleged family violence or the alleged danger to the children.

Were You Served With A Petition And TRO? Now Is The Time To Call.

If you have been served and do not have an attorney, it is imperative that you contact one immediately to ensure that you protect your rights and interests. You can call our office in Hurst at 817-864-8594 or send us your information, and we will respond to your email promptly.