Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas Child Custody Cases

You are involved in a child custody case and you need to protect your children from the other parent’s dangerous behavior. Perhaps the other parent was arrested for DWI, is abusing drugs/alcohol, or has moved into a home with a dangerous criminal. These are common reasons our family law clients seek temporary restraining orders. Let’s talk about what parents can do to keep their children safe with a restraining order.

What is a temporary restraining order (TRO)?

A temporary restraining order is used to preserve the status quo in a case by restraining a party from doing something or preventing them from doing something. It is common for a parent to ask the court to protect the children in a case, and ask that the other parent be restrained from access or possession to the child in a case. If a TRO involves access or possession of a child, then an affidavit will need to be attached when your lawyer files for the TRO.

What does Ex Parte mean?

Some TROs are ex parte, which means that your lawyer can go in front of the judge without notice to the other party. In most situations, ex parte communications with the court are serious violations of the ethical rules and rules of civil procedure. However, for TROs, they can be allowed in emergency situations.

When does a TRO take effect? How long does it last?

A TRO is not effective until the other party receives actual notice of the order. So when the judge signs the order, it still needs to be served. This is important in cases involving children and custody issues. Talk to your lawyer about their plan to have the order served after the hearing.

A TRO can last for up to 14 days. If good cause is shown, a court can extend a TRO for an additional 14 days.

What is the difference between a restraining order and a protective order?

Protective orders deal with allegations of family violence. That can be violence against a spouse or child. Restraining orders can deal with other dangerous behaviors (drinking and driving with the children in the car), that are not family violence, but still dangerous.