Divorce is difficult enough when both parties agree to remain civil, and the issues are not contested. When there is extreme animosity that results in litigation, the divorce process can be traumatic and costly. For a father, one of the most difficult things to contend with during a divorce is a restraining order, particularly if it proposes to limit, or entirely prohibit, access to your children. Fort Worth father’s rights lawyer Jon Boyd explains what to do if your spouse has requested a restraining order as part of your divorce.
The Texas Divorce Process
A married couple can make the decision to end the marriage together or one spouse can make the decision alone. The legal process of divorce, however, does not begin until one spouse files a legal document referred to as an Original Petition of Divorce. The Petitioner (spouse who files the Petition) must serve the Respondent (the other spouse) with a copy of the Petition along with a Summons that explains how long the Respondent has to file an Answer to the Petition. Once the Petition is filed, the direction that the divorce process takes will depend on the parties; however, even a relatively simple divorce that does not involve contested issues will still take several months to complete. Because it can take months, even years, to reach the end of the divorce process, the law allows either party to request temporary orders. One such order is a restraining order.
What Is a Temporary Restraining Order?
If you were recently served with divorce papers that included a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), you may be confused, angry, and/or worried about how to proceed. A TRO is unique within the judicial system because it involves one of the few times that a judge will issue orders without affording both sides to a dispute the opportunity to be heard.
A TRO is an emergency court order that orders a party not to take a particular action until a hearing can be held. The party requesting the TRO must affirm, under the penalties of perjury, to the reasons why the TRO is necessary and why the order cannot wait until a hearing on the matter. Unfortunately, one of the issues that can be covered in a TRO is access to minor children of the marriage. That means that a judge could order you to stay away from your children based solely on information provided by your spouse in the request for the TRO.
Can I Do Anything about a Temporary Restraining Order?
If you were served with a TRO, it is crucial to abide by the terms of the Order. Violating the terms of a TRO will subject you to serious penalties as well as harm your overall chance of prevailing in your case before the court. Keep in mind that a TRO can only remain in effect for up to 14 days or until the hearing, whichever is sooner. Within that time the court must set the matter for a hearing at which time you can present your own testimony and/or evidence in opposition to the requested orders. It may seem like a long time if you have been ordered to stay away from your children; however, it is in your best interest to prepare for the hearing by focusing on defending the allegations made by your spouse instead of on the fact that you are prohibited from seeing your children for the moment. Given what is at stake, retaining an experienced attorney to represent you at the hearing is a wise choice.
Contact a Fort Worth Father’s Rights Lawyer
If you were recently served with a Temporary Restraining Order as part of a Texas divorce, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights lawyer immediately to discuss your legal options. Contact an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights lawyer at Boyd Family Law by calling 817-338-4500 to schedule your appointment today.