Types of Restraining Orders in Divorce

Learn about the different types of restraining orders that may be involved in your divorce.

Before a divorce is finalized, one spouse might try to do something to the other that isn’t entirely fair. For example, one spouse might scheme to take money from a shared bank account and place it in a secret account.

A restraining order is a tool the court can use to help protect the integrity of the divorce process – including shared marital assets – so the settlement agreement is fair to both spouses.

What is an automatic temporary restraining order?

An Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO) is a court order that typically goes into effect when the papers are served for a divorce, legal separation, or other family law case. These restraining orders are designed to protect the assets of both parties by preventing either person from taking action that would potentially disrupt the marital estate, such as transferring assets without the other party’s knowledge or consent.

As such, neither spouse can make certain transfers, sales, liquidations, or encumbrances of any marital property when an ATRO is in place.

More specifically, ATROs in divorce are meant to do the following:

  • Prevent either party from taking actions that could hinder their ability to reach a mutually agreeable settlement agreement
  • Preserve the assets that each party could use as leverage during divorce negotiations

Before proceeding with a trial, the court may also require either spouse to provide financial records and documentation about their incomes and assets.

Do I have to request an ATRO from the court? 

You do not have to request an ATRO. The court issues these orders immediately upon the filing of the divorce petition. However, you should research the ATRO rules for your jurisdiction to find out what ATROs are automatically issued. This varies by location.

If your local court didn't issue an ATRO on a matter and you need one, you can always request an order from the court.

How long does an ATRO last?

An ATRO typically lasts until the final judgment of divorce has been entered. At that point, the court formally divides any remaining marital property and enters a formal order outlining the terms of that division.

Other temporary restraining orders

There are other types of temporary restraining orders that may be issued in divorce cases as well. Here are some examples:

Child Custody Restraining Order

A child custody restraining order may be issued to protect children from being subjected to unsafe or unhealthy environments while their parents go through a divorce. This order enforces child custody rulings made by the court and restricts either parent from interfering with their child's custody arrangement. 

The order typically requires one parent to refrain from visiting certain areas near their former partner's residence, prohibits travel out of state with their children without permission, or bars them from making negative comments about their former partner in front of their children.

Temporary Protective Order (TPO)

A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) may be issued to protect one of the parties from immediate danger related to domestic abuse or other threats of violence. It is an injunction issued by the court to prevent one spouse from engaging in domestic violence, threats of violence, harassment, or stalking of the other spouse. 

In a divorce case, this order of protection can last up to 10 days and may be extended by the court if necessary.

Domestic Violence Restraining Order

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) may be issued to prevent one party from contacting the other. This order may be issued if there is evidence of actual violence or imminent threat of violence between spouses. The order is intended to protect individuals from further harm and can include provisions such as requiring one party to stay away from the other or prohibiting contact with children involved in the case.

FAQ about restraining orders in divorce

What other types of restraining orders can be issued in a divorce case?

Other types of restraining orders that may be issued in a divorce case include Orders Prohibiting Harassment, Financial Transaction Restricting Orders, and Pre-Dissolution Orders restricting the use of property pending resolution of disposition proceedings.

How long do restraining orders last during divorce proceedings?

Restraining orders typically remain valid until all issues related to the restraining order have been resolved through an agreement between both parties or final judgment has been entered on all outstanding matters related to marital dissolution proceedings.

At Hello Divorce, we advocate for people before, during, and after their divorce process. We offer numerous services, from online divorce plans to legal advice via Zoom meetings with experienced attorneys. Schedule a free 15-minute phone call to learn more.

Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.