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State Bar of Texas

Explained: Difference in Protective Order and a TRO

Both protective orders and TROs are legal documents issued by a court that are designed to protect individuals from harm, harassment, or intimidation from their spouse, partner, or other family member. However, there are some key differences between these two types of orders.

A TRO is a short-term order that is typically issued at the beginning of a family law case. It is intended to provide immediate protection to a person who is at risk of harm while the case is pending. A TRO is valid for up to 14 days, after which a hearing must be held to determine whether a longer-term protective order is necessary.

On the other hand, a protective order is a longer-term order that can last for up to two years. It is issued after a hearing where both parties have had the opportunity to present evidence and argue their case before the judge. Protective orders can include a wide range of provisions, including restrictions on contact, visitation, or communication, as well as provisions related to child custody, support, and property division.

One of the key differences between a TRO and a protective order is the process by which they are obtained. A TRO can be obtained quickly and without notice to the other party, while a protective order requires a hearing where both parties are present and have the opportunity to present evidence.

Another key difference is the level of evidence required to obtain each type of order. To obtain a TRO, a party must show that there is a credible threat of harm or that there is a likelihood that one party will be harmed before a full hearing can be held. To obtain a protective order, a party must present evidence that they have been the victim of family violence, which is defined broadly to include physical harm, threats of harm, or emotional abuse.

In summary, both protective orders and temporary restraining orders are important tools for protecting individuals in Texas family law cases. While a TRO provides immediate protection, a protective order offers longer-term relief and requires a hearing where both parties have the opportunity to present evidence. If you are considering seeking a protective order or TRO, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.

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