What Is a Temporary Restraining Order?

In divorce, there may be a time when you need to ask the court for temporary orders. For example, you might want to stop your spouse from doing something like moving away with your minor children or selling the marital home. To prevent these things from happening, you may need to ask the court to enter a temporary restraining order.

What is a temporary restraining order?

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a court order issued by a judge that requires one person to stay away from another person or an area. In the context of divorce, a TRO can be used to protect either spouse from malicious or threatening behavior during the divorce process. It may also prevent spouses from selling, transferring, or hiding assets until these matters can be sorted out in court.

TROs may include provisions for child custody and visitation rights, providing additional protection for any children involved in the divorce. Additionally, parties may not withdraw, transfer, or cancel any bank accounts if a TRO has been issued against them. 

In short, temporary restraining orders provide security and protection to divorcing couples while they go through their legal proceedings and negotiation processes.

Who needs a temporary restraining order?

In divorce, a temporary restraining order can protect either spouse from malicious or threatening behavior during the process. It may also protect children if a spouse wishes for custody or visitation rights over them. 

Here are some examples of cases in which a temporary restraining order could be beneficial:

  • When one spouse is accused of domestic violence or stalking
  • When one spouse refuses to make required alimony payments
  • When one parent is attempting to relocate with a child without the other's permission
  • To stop the sale, transfer, or hiding of assets by either party during divorce proceedings

A temporary order hearing may be scheduled. However, in some family law cases, a judge may issue an order without a hearing.


What is the difference between a temporary restraining order and an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO)?

The main difference is the speed with which they are issued. A TRO must be requested by one of the two parties involved in the divorce case, while an ATRO is issued automatically when a petition for dissolution or legal separation is filed in court. 

An ATRO may include provisions related to temporary spousal support, temporary child support payments, temporary child custody arrangements or visitation, the protection of personal property, and questions about debt payments. TROs can also provide these protections, but they must be requested separately from the filing of a divorce or legal separation.

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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.