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What is a Temporary Restraining Order?

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A temporary restraining order (TRO) is used when a victim needs immediate relief or protection from an abuser. Often used in domestic violence cases, a TRO sets enforceable guidelines to prevent an abuser from doing specific acts, like harassing or communicating with the victim, in specific places such as the home or work place.

How to get a temporary restraining order

Applications for a temporary restraining order can always be found at the county courthouse. The victim files the notarized copies to the courthouse clerk who will present them to the judge. The judge will make his decision based on the information included in the application, so it is very important that the victim include as many facts as possible, in the clearest manner possible. The judge may ask the victim questions and allow the victim to clarify any information, but this is not always the case. The victim should bring photos, police reports and even friends or family who have seen the abuse first hand to help present the case.

When does the Temporary Restraining Order become Effective

Should the judge grant a TRO, the order becomes effective as soon as it is served to the abuser. Depending on where you live, the papers may be served by a county deputy or by registered mail. The victim is to make a copy of their order and keep it with them at all times.

How Does a Temporary Restraining Order Protect a Victim

The TRO will direct the abuser to one of more of the following –

  1. The abuser will move out of a shared residence as ordered by a Vacate Order
  2. The abuser will be responsible for paying child support as ordered by a Child Support Order
  3. The victim will receive temporary custody of the children as ordered by a Custody Order
  4. The abuser will pay restitution as part of a Restitution Order
  5. The abuser will not make contact or come within a defined area of the victim per the Restraint Order

How Long Does a Temporary Restraining Order Last

Generally, a TRO is effective for two weeks, or until the court can hear both sides of the case. When needed, a TRO can be extended for weeks or months.

What if the Abuser Violate a Temporary Restraining Order

Should the abuser violate any term on the TRO, the victim must contact the police immediately, report the infraction, and provide a copy of the TRO, if the police do not already have a copy. The abuser will be arrested.

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