When filing a suit for divorce or custody, there are various forms of relief that can be requested at the outset of the case. When there are particular items that parties desire to keep intact when filing one of these suits, a temporary restraining order can be a useful tool. In addition, a temporary restraining order can be issued for the protection of the parties or their children.
A temporary restraining order is typically requested at the beginning of the case when there is some sort of threat to the sanctity of the parties’ property or children. So, for example, a spouse might seek to prevent the other spouse from draining bank accounts or selling assets when there is a threat that they might do so when served with a divorce petition. Another example would be if a party asks the court to prevent a party from absconding with a child when served with a petition for custody of that child. Both of these examples can be addressed in a temporary restraining order preventing these actions from taking place until the parties can get into court.
Once a temporary restraining order is signed by a judge, it is typically active for 14 days from the date of signature. During that time, the other party is prohibited from doing the acts specified in the order until a hearing can be held, which hearing is usually set within that 14 day period. This does not allow for a lot of time for either notice to the other side or for preparation for the hearing, so a lot of work can go into a case during this limited period of time for both sides. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether any of the provisions in the temporary restraining order will become temporary injunctions which will be good for the duration of the case.
If you are concerned that your spouse or the other parent of your child may act rashly when served with a divorce or custody suit, you may want to consider talking with your attorney about obtaining a temporary restraining order. Although not all cases will justify getting one, the right set of facts can make it particularly helpful for a party to obtain one. If nothing else, it can give a party peace of mind that their property or children are under the protection of the court when their case is initially filed.