While TROs are most often used to protect against domestic violence, they may also be issued for dangerous situations outside your family.
If you’re in a relationship and are being emotionally or physically abused, threatened, harassed, or subject to other acts of violence, a temporary restraining order can help keep the abuser away. At The Betz Law Firm, we understand that the process of seeking a TRO feels overwhelming. Our knowledge and experience allow us to provide sound legal advice and representation to our clients in such situations.
What is a Temporary Restraining Order?
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a court order to prevent someone from taking specific actions. But as this is temporary, it only lasts for a particular amount of time. While TROs are most often used to protect against domestic violence, they may also be issued for dangerous situations outside your family. Some restraining orders have nothing to do with violence. For instance, it may be ordered to maintain the status quo in a couple’s finances while going through a divorce.
The order will require the abuser to avoid all contact with you, your children, and sometimes other family members. These no-contact provisions typically extend to places such as your home, workplace, car, and children’s school or childcare facility.
In the case of an abuser, if they violate the order, you can ask the police or court to enforce it. The police may arrest the abuser, or the court may impose criminal penalties such as jail time.
However, it’s essential to remember that a temporary restraining order is a piece of paper. It cannot ensure your abuser will leave you alone. Therefore, it should never replace a safety plan.
How to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order
In general, you must file your temporary restraining order petition in the district or county court where your or the abuser resides. Most courts offer detailed online information about the process and free downloadable forms. Other courts have self-help centers with staff trained to answer your questions.
To obtain an order, you must convince a judge that you are in danger of suffering immediate irreparable harm unless you have it issued. If the judge is convinced the TRO is necessary, they may give the order immediately, without holding a hearing or informing the other parties.
How Long Does a TRO Last?
Most temporary restraining orders remain in effect until a hearing where the petitioner and respondent appear before a judge, present evidence, and argue for or against a longer-lasting order. The hearing typically must take place within two or three weeks. When the TRO is ordered as part of a divorce, it will generally remain in effect until the divorce is final.
St. Louis Family Law Attorney
A family law attorney should be someone you can trust to help you through some of the most challenging times in your life and one of the people you want next to you to celebrate triumphs. At The Betz Law Firm, we are committed to guiding our clients through the court process with the same level of professionalism that we would wish for our family members.
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Our firm uses experience, good communication, and availability to help families get through life changing events.