Temporary restraining orders (“TROs”) can encompass a wide variety of issues in family law cases dealing with both property and children. Often they involve allegations of domestic violence or abuse. A temporary restraining order is granted without a hearing based on affidavits by the requesting party.
In most cases, TROs are requested at the very beginning with the petition is filed. In that case, the judge will grant the TRO “ex parte,” which means that the other side, the respondent, does not have the opportunity to appear or respond. The judge simply reviews the petitioner’s affidavits and determines whether or not the affidavits, on their face, provides enough to grant the temporary restraining order. The respondent can attempt to dissolve the TRO once it is entered, but most often it is dealt with at the hearing.
Occasionally something happens during a case that makes one side request a TRO. In that case, the attorney for the party requesting the TRO must notify the other side that a request for a TRO is being filed and give the other side the opportunity to appear before the judge and contest the entry of the TRO. If the other side files for a TRO against my client, I quickly get my client (and any other relevant witnesses) to draft affidavits with their side of the story. I then meet the other attorney at the courthouse when he is presenting the TRO to the judge. I give the judge my affidavits and try to prevent the entry of the TRO, if possible. In cases where there are allegations of abuse, the judge will almost always err on the side of caution and grant the TRO pending a hearing. The judge just simply cannot take the risk that the allegations are true.
After a TRO is granted, the court must hold a hearing within 14 days. If there is no hearing within the time limit, the TRO will expire absent an agreement or another court order extending the TRO.