Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas, Harris County

Circumstances arise in which parties are in need of immediate protection from certain individuals. Fortunately, the Texas Family Code provides an immediate response to potential danger and provides protection to a party, a child, or property. This protection comes in the form of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). What is a TRO and what does it do? Let’s discuss.

Need help now? If you are in danger, then contact the police. If you need to speak to a family law attorney call (832) 410-8935.

What is a Temporary Restraining Order?

A TRO serves the purpose of restraining a party from a specific behavior that is prohibited by the TRO. Section 6.501 of the Texas Family Code outlines about 23 behaviors that a TRO can be issued to restrain.

In short, the court states upon filing of a suit for the dissolution of a marriage, the court may grant a TRO without notice to the adverse party for the “preservation of the property and for the protection of the parties as necessary”. The TRO can prohibit one or both parties from – including but not limited to— the following:

  1. Communication or threatening the other party with the intent to annoy or alarm the other party. This includes placing anonymous phone calls repeatedly to offend or annoy the other party;

  2. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to the other party or to a child of either party or threatening either party with imminent bodily injury;

  3. Threatening the other party or a child of either party with imminent bodily injury;

  4. Destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring, or otherwise harming or reducing the value of the property of the parties or either party;

  5. Falsifying a writing or record;

  6. Refusing to disclose important information to the other party or court;

  7. Refusing to disclose the amount or location of certain property;

  8. Intentionally damaging or destroying or tampering with property to create substantial loss or substantial inconvenience to the other party;

  9. Selling or transferring property of either party unless authorized by the court;

  10. Incurring debt;

  11. Withdrawing money from any financial institution or spending money in either party’s possession;

  12. Withdrawing money for any purpose from a retirement plan or life insurance policies;

  13. Entering a safe deposit box of either party;

  14. Changing or altering the name of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy;

  15. Canceling, altering, or failing to renew all insurance policies;

  16. Opening mail or communication addressed to the other party;

  17. Signing or endorsing the other party’s name on any negotiable instrument, check, or draft;

  18. Taking any action to terminate or limit credit or charge credit cards in the name of the other party;

  19. Destroying, disposing of, or altering any financial records of the parties;

  20. Destroying, disposing of, or altering any e-mail, text message, video message, or chat message or other electronic data relevant to the subject matter of the suit for dissolution of marriage;

  21. Deleting any data or content from any social network profile used or created by either party or a child of the parties;

  22. Terminating or in any matter affecting the service of utilities;

  23. Excluding the other party from use and enjoyment of a residence; or

  24. Entering, operating, or exercising control over a motor vehicle in the possession of the other party.

Applying for a TRO

Under the Texas Family Code, a TRO can be brought, with or without notice, by a party in two contexts: Divorce or Custody cases. A TRO may be granted with or without an affidavit.

When a child is included in the petition for a TRO, whether it is to exclude a parent from having access to their child or requiring the child to be in a third party’s possession, the application must include an affidavit of the party stating that if the TRO is not granted, the party or child will suffer “irreparable harm”.

How Long Does a TRO Last?

In Texas, TROs are granted by state statute to be effected for 14 days. This can be extended or diminished by the Court. According to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the TRO will automatically expire at midnight of the 14th calendar day after it is signed by the court.

It is important to note that a TRO is not effective until the non-petitioning party receives actual notice of the court order. Typically notice is given through personal service. Call (832) 410-8935 to speak to an attorney.

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