Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Temporary Restraining Order Versus Protective Order

While often used for similar purposes, protective orders and temporary restraining orders (usually referred to by their acronym “TROs”) are different legal tools. The general difference to remember is that protective orders are more powerful. If you obtain a protective order against someone, and then that person violates the protective order, you can call the police, and the police can arrest him or her for violating the order. In other words, the protective order is criminally enforceable.

Violating a TRO, on the other hand, has no criminal repercussions. If someone violates a TRO, the police do not have the authority to arrest the offender. You will have to go back in front of the judge who issued the TRO and testify or provide evidence about the violations of the TRO.

TROs are generally sought during a divorce or when one partner has been threatening or harassing the other, but has not yet engaged in physical harm. For example, you can obtain a TRO to prevent a person from harassing you or threatening your children, or to prevent someone from transferring or reducing the value of property that is involved in a divorce case. When an offender’s conduct becomes dangerous to you or your child, a protective order is the best means by which to protect you and your family.

Because TROs are more limited in scope than protective orders, TROs are generally easier to obtain. A judge can order a TRO without notifying the other party or without even holding a hearing. A protective order, in contrast, usually requires both notification to the other side and a hearing to determine whether to grant the protective order. In emergencies, however, a judge may issue a temporary protective order without notice or without a hearing in order to prevent immediate harm. The temporary protective order would then stay in effect until the judge can hold a hearing to determine whether to issue a regular, longer-lasting protective order.

Have you used either a protective order or a temporary restraining order? How effective were they for you?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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