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What is a Temporary Restraining Order?

A person may seek a temporary restraining order if he or she was the victim of violence.
A temporary restraining order is issued by a judge.
A temporary restraining order could become semi-permanent or permanent when there is a threat of violence.
A restraining order may prohibit phone calls between two people.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 June 2014
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A temporary restraining order (TRO) is an order issued by a judge in an attempt to keep one person from harassing another person or group of people. The TRO is only effective for a short period of time, usually lasting no more than a month at most. This is because, in most instances, only one person's request is needed to get the order. For it to become permanent or semi-permanent, a court of law must hear from not only the party who wants someone else to leave him or her alone, but also needs to hear from the person who is accused of violence, harassment, stalking, or other potentially illegal action.

The TRO usually specifies exactly how close a person can get to another person without violating the order. The person against whom it is issued may be obligated by the court to stay at least 100 feet (30.48 m) away from someone else, to not be on shared property, or to not show up at someone’s home or workplace. Each order is different and up to the judge’s discretion.

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There are a number of reasons why people may seek a temporary restraining order. They are very common in divorce cases where domestic violence has occurred or been alleged. When sexual or physical abuse of a child has occurred, the spouse who has not been involved in the abuse may seek a TRO, or be advised by agencies like Child Protective Services to obtain one in a first step toward ending custodial rights of the abusive parent. People who have been harassed at work, or who have had threats of violence made to them by others, may also seek protection. Since the courts tend to grant these restraining orders on a somewhat liberal basis, they are often fairly easy to obtain.

Making a temporary restraining order permanent is a little more difficult. The court must hear both sides of a case, and there must be sufficient evidence to continue to uphold the order. The court can also exercise the right to review the order at later points in time, if the person against whom it is issued complies with certain conditions, like attending domestic violence classes or getting treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Often, permanent orders must be reviewed and have an expiration date. The person who originally sought the order must renew it once it expires.

There are instances where one person will ask for a restraining order against someone who poses no threat. This can be a malicious means of attempting to imply that a spouse or someone close has been violent. If a person is the subject of a restraining order that he or she feels is unjustified, it is very important that the person not to justify the order by violating it. The order serves an important purpose because police will usually immediately respond to its violation. As difficult as it may seem to wait it out, it's important for the subject to do so, and wait for a court appearance to tell his or her side of the story and hopefully prevent the TRO from becoming a more permanent one.

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Discuss this Article

anon929749
Post 26

I run a bar and restaurant. We have a couple who used to frequent the bar together. The wife has recently obtained a temporary restraining order against the husband. She lives within two blocks of the bar. My question to you is, even if she is not here, is the husband allowed into the bar because it is so close to her house?

anon303740
Post 23

anon27809: I thought that's just what brothers did. I know me and my brother do.

anon290574
Post 21

I have a problem. During the six weeks holiday, I decided to to tell my girlfriend the truth about me sleeping with a lass before she and I had gone back out. She said she thought I was cheating on her and I told her I've never cheated on a lass in my life. Her mum said if I talk to her or go near her again, I'll get a restraining order slapped on me. My question is am I OK to talk to my ex, or will the RO be able to be put through?

Madge
Post 19

My daughter's new partner has a restraining order against him in the UK. His ex has lots of his property still, including his dog. He got into trouble by trying to contact her to ask to collect his things. How can he do this without getting into trouble again, please?

anon231628
Post 18

I put an ad on Craigslist for a roommate. I got a response from an individual who seemed like she would fit in. She ended up being a nightmare! She attempts to do what she pleases without consideration of others or neighbors. She has verbal arguments with my eight year old son. There are noise disturbances at 2 a.m.(The police were called out.) She slams cabinet doors (attempting to be loud or break them on purpose.) She Slammed my hair in the door and when I told her to let me go, she laughed, so I pushed really hard on the door which caused her to fall backwards on the opposite side of the door (which gave her a small scratch).

She has also become a threat to a stable environment in my household. A nuisance. I have a restraining order that has yet to be served (although she is my roomie, it is not as easy as it seems). She is prone to violent outbursts with verbal abuse and harassment. I just want it to stop. I feel her instigating a situation on purpose. How do I get her out of my home besides the restraining order?

anon211432
Post 17

anon27809: You need to get counseling, not a restraining order.

anon161022
Post 16

Can I get a temporary restraining order against someone who is just simply put "plain bad luck"? I run a firm located on a farm in rural Georgia. The landlord and her daughter take care of six developmentally disabled adults, and my firm assists them. However, another DD adult, who they do not have responsibility for, comes onto the property to visit. If he comes around me, my firm runs into bad luck, especially with big projects, which can get delayed for up to a year.

I estimate that his visits have cost me $500, because something bad happens. He does not actually cause the bad event to occur, but it just occurs. Can I get a TRO to keep him away from me, just for being a "bad luck charm"?

JustDani79
Post 15

My brother was just served a false two year restraining order from his ex (mother of his child).

We know that everything she has done has been because she was afraid he was going to go for custody now that he is buying a home and she lives in government housing.

The judge set the hearing for one day from now and he lives over 100 miles away from her without any transportation, not to mention he just started a new job. What will his rights be? Any advice would be helpful.

I should just add that he doesn't have any intentions of going for custody -- just visitation rights to his child.

anon126931
Post 13

i had a 'false' restraining order from my ex-boyfriend that ended in early November. he served me another temporary restraining order a couple of days ago.

i just want him out of my life. he is saying that I'm stalking him, but he keeps coming into the town that i was born and raised in, and antagonizing me and saying that I'm stalking him, which is not true.

Within 30 minutes of me being served the last time, he and his girlfriend came towards my vehicle and they both attacked me and left. i called the police and they took pictures of my face, and my ex and his girlfriend disappeared.

what are my rights? should they have been arrested?

anon120493
Post 12

my son's dad has not seen him for nearly seven years. he was seeing him, and then one day he frightened him and my son didn't want to see his dad.

one of my son's friends gave his dad my son's phone number and has started calling and texting him. my son is now on edge and doesn't want to see him or talk to him. my son is 14 and he knows his own mind about what he thinks of his dad. i don't know what to do.

anon111737
Post 11

I broke up with my ex boyfriend and he won't leave me alone. He has never been violent towards me nor threatened me but he will not stop trying to contact me. He knows my school and work schedule and has shown up at my school and threatens to show up at my work and home. Would i be able to put a retraining order on him and if so, how would i go about doing that?

anon102333
Post 10

my former fiance told me that she got a temporary restraining order -- quite a shock! I am trying to find out if she is telling me a lie. She did this once before and it wasn't true. She id it just to scare me, and it did. I have never been served and the a washington police officer told me that if it were him, he'd get his things and leave and to quit waiting around to be served. I waited for four days before I left.

I have no background except for two traffic tickets in the last 19 years. I took his advice and just left permanently and am on my way back to my home state. I looked online to find out info on how to find out if she lied and instantly they pinpointed my location and direction.

anon99934
Post 9

my half brother is threatening me. he is a police officer in san diego. can i file a restraining order to him for what he did to me? I'm afraid he will go to my house and do something not good to me.

anon79167
Post 8

My daughter is trying to get a restraining order against me so I can't go to my grandson's sporting events.

I am at a public school and minding my own business and her husband tells me to leave (get out of here, no one wants you here) and makes a scene.

Can they do this to me? I have done nothing to my grandson, I just want to watch him, since she is keeping him from me. She knows that this hurts me a lot not seeing my grandson. She has done this to me three times and he is 13 years old. She hates me.

anon73847
Post 7

my mum put a restraining order on my dad because i wanted to see him and left home. the judge never talked to me and heard my side of the story even though i am old enough to speak my mind.

i don't know what to do about it. i just want to get it off somehow but i don't know how. i want both my parents.

anon71626
Post 6

At one point I loaned a couple hundred dollars to a now ex-friend. He kept writing back to me that I'm delusional and that he doesn't know me, so i sent what he wrote to his girlfriend and said "you remember me hanging out with him." He calls my phone up and says he's going to find me and kill me, and that his girlfriend is going to the police to put a restraining order on me for harassment? can anyone help me?

anon55809
Post 5

Can i get a TRO against my ex-girlfriend? She keeps calling my phone after i changed my number, she pops up knocking on my apartment door, shows up at my work place trying to get me to take my lunch so i could talk to her.

I tell her to leave me alone, but she doesn't. I know she has a boyfriend so i don't want to get the cops involved. I just want her to leave me alone. What should i do?

i already threatened to call the cops, but couldn't find it in my heart to do it. I do not love or have feelings for her, so what should i do? Help!

anon54574
Post 4

I am currently with a guy. We have been together a year and a half. He has a daughter whom he picks up every Sunday from her mom's house, and also provides cash assistance to her.

Recently my fiance received a summons for child support and decided to pay her with money orders to avoid problems with the law. the money order he gave to her for some reason no one wanted to cash – they kept saying the original receipt must be kept in order to cash it.

We went with the mother but the mother was super hyper and very aggressive with me just because I asked the cashier why couldn't she just cash it with an I.D. and informed the cashier that money gram told me only an I.D. is required.

The mom then said to me don't get involved, screaming, and i said i will get involved. she then said to me. “oh yeah, here we go.” We then had no choice and they cashed it and kept the original receipt and made copies for me. And left she then said out loud to my fiance for no reason, “Be a man and come alone and say something to me next time.”

Later that night she called him and he doesn't answer then she calls me and i don't answer. she leaves me a nasty message saying don't get involved between me and my baby's father or else what happened in 2008 will happen again.

In 2008 i was pregnant and she attacked me and lied to the police and said he had beat her. She is out of control and very impulsive. What should i do? And what should he do? His mistake was trusting her and giving her cash assistance for his daughter and no money orders.

Now he has a summons and with me she threatens not to get involved but my involvement is just supporting him. I have no reason to argue or fight with her. She has lied to welfare that she is not married when indeed she is legally married but separated and he has always been helping her with their daughter. Please help! Thanks.

cbowl123
Post 3

What do i do? my husband left me. we got a divorce and i tried to kill myself -- my fault. He took me down (he is a police officer) and he was arrested. i dropped the charges. He states by my daughter he cannot talk to me, he has moved out and got himself an apartment with his sister. He has my daughter and she won't come home. I was a pain pill addict getting help. I got a counselor, was going to aa meetings and have been clean. this apartment thing is so sudden. My daughter respects him I want her to come home but by pushing her I don't want to ruin her senior year. he did this so sudden now she wants to come to the house and pick up her stuff which is fine but I don't want him or his sister coming here until we get a mediator. i will give him his stuff and his sister's personal items back but I don't want them in the house. he can't but his sister might be able to. I am devastated. what can I do? please help. i need answers fast.

anon36563
Post 2

I have a family that is trying to get a hold of me and my boyfriend. They want to talk with us but I feel that it is not in our best interests. I want to get a restraining order to prevent them from coming into contact with us.

anon27809
Post 1

Can I get a restraining order against my brother, because he is insulting me every moment? sometimes I feel like I am getting crazy because of him. I am really tired hearing how he describes me. He ridicules me and puts me down either alone or in front of people and I can't stop him. What Can I do?

Thanks!!

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