Legal Tidbits: Family Law – Temporary Orders are binding so take them serious, but not necessary in all divorces

Divorce by definition is an unpleasant experience. It can be an ordeal. At times one of the partners in a marriage asks for a temporary restraining order to freeze any action, to avoid hasty or rash decisions. In some cases, TROs are issued to protect one partner from the other one.

Are they to be taken seriously? Absolutely.

A judge can issue a TRO without a hearing. They usually involve divorces, child-custody cases, paternity suits and a host of other family-related legal matters. The intent often is to keep everything in place until a hearing occurs to settle the matter being contested.

The law at times being a bit cumbersome, divorces can take some time to resolve. If the custody of children is involved, TROs buy time lawyers representing each parent to prepare their cases. TROs can provide temporary custody to one of the parents until the divorce is finalized.

A temporary restraining order may be necessary in some cases, but not in every case. That’s why it’s important to consult carefully with your attorney to determine if a TRO is in your best interest. No need, of course, to worry about whether a TRO is in the best interest of the other parent; he or she will have counsel to offer advice.

TROs can be used to help determine the use of joint property, such as motor vehicles or homes.

Divorce can be a messy and emotional matter for couples ending a marriage. Temporary restraining orders, while not always necessary, often are needed to help calm parties down and allow courts and lawyers do their job on behalf of everyone involved.

Hearings usually occur within 14 days of a judge’s initial order. The TRO becomes effective after that hearing. TROs can become permanent orders until the divorce decree is finalized.

Aside from the messiness and the emotion involved with divorce proceedings, the TRO hearings can become the most crucial element in a pending divorce. Under Texas law, temporary orders can last for months and even years.

Texas family law does allow for a cooling-off period after an initial divorce filing. It sets a minimum 61-day waiting period for divorce proceedings to begin. Some have suggested the minimum wait time is intended to give married couples time to reconsider whether they truly want to end a marriage – particularly if children are involved.

Once the proceedings begin, that’s when TROs come into play.

Once divorce papers are served, it would serve the person receiving the papers to consult quickly with a lawyer to consider all options – even when they concern a possible temporary restraining order.