Temporary Order for Protection of the Person in Divorce

Temporary Order for Protection of the Person in Divorce

In the divorce context, a temporary order for personal protection (sometimes called a "restraining order") is a court order prohibiting a spouse from contacting or harming the other spouse. Protection orders are common in situations involving spousal abuse or harassment. The orders usually are kept in place for the duration of the divorce case.

In order to obtain a temporary order for protection, a party usually must petition the court and present some measure of cause for the request. Once the prerequisites are met and the required evidence is provided, the judge will decide, usually immediately, whether to issue a temporary protection.

Courts may issue an order of protection to:

  • restrict the restrained party from having any contact with the petitioner, including harassment and threats;
  • prevent the restrained party from appearing at the petitioner's home, jobsite, or school, and/or from appearing at the parties' children's schools or daycare facilities; or
  • compel the restrained party to vacate the petitioner's home if the two are living together.

After a temporary restraining order is issued, the issuing court usually will schedule an initial hearing to decide whether a permanent order is required. In theory, temporary orders for protection are registered in a nation-wide computer system and are enforceable throughout United States. In practice, it can be difficult to establish the evidence necessary to enforce a restraining order against a determined spouse. Prohibited contact when no witnesses are around can be difficult to prove, and relying on an over-worked police force to intervene in specific instances can prove fruitless. In most cases, it is a crime to violate restraining orders.

Copyright 2010 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.


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