Temporary Protective Orders ("TPOs") and Temporary Restraining Orders ("TROs") are often confused and confusing, and the terms are commonly used interchangeably. The orders are not the same, however, and are issued in completely different ways and for completely different purposes. Collin County Divorce Attorneys explain why and when TPOs and TROs are necessary in the divorce process.

TPOs are issued to prevent further acts of family violence.  The idea of "restraining" an offender is probably the source of confusion between this order and a temporary restraining order.  However, a protective order is just that: an order to protect an abused spouse or child from an abusive spouse or parent. TPOs usually prohibit one family member from contacting or getting within a certain defined proximity of the person protected by the order, usually another family member. TPOs may include additional protective terms such as prohibitions against calling, texting or contacting the person protected by the order by other forms of social media. These types of terms can be included in the TPO to prevent continued harassment by the person subject to the order. 

Violations of TPOs are criminal offenses; violators can be taken into custody by law enforcement officials upon violation of the TPO without a hearing. Because the violation of a TPO has such potentially serious consequences, the standard for being issued one is high. The person applying for a TPO must be able to prove that the person against whom the TPO would be issued has a history of family violence, and that he or she is likely to commit such violence in the future. This proof can be established through victim testimony, pictures of injuries, hospital records, criminal arrest records, 911 call records, etc. While it is not necessary, it is a good idea to have an attorney apply for a TPO on behalf of the person who needs protection. Collin County divorce attorneys are experienced and ready to help.

In contrast to a TPO, a Temporary Restraining Order is an order or set of orders issued by a court to both parties in a divorce while it is pending to ensure that their conduct with respect to marital property, each other, and any children involved is appropriate and preserves the status quo until the divorce is finalized. Unlike TPOs, courts issue TROs routinely in Texas divorce proceedings. The TROs are important mechanisms to prevent either party to a divorce from emptying a joint bank account, incurring new debt in the other party's name, confiscating mail, using harsh or obscene language when talking to the other party, or talking badly about the other party to or in front of the children. Violating a TRO is not a criminal offense, and therefore is not enforceable by law enforcement officials.  Violations must be brought to the attention of the court, which can find the offender in contempt, and either assess a fine and/or order jail time.

Although courts routinely issue TROs in pending divorce cases, they must still be requested. Collin County divorce attorneys at Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC, stand ready to help with all of your legal needs for a divorce. Contact us for a free consultation.