Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are authorized by Chapter 65 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. TROs typically include orders to protect property, although safety concerns may also be addressed until a hearing can be held.
A TRO is not the same as a protective order in that a TRO does not make child custody or child support orders. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 680 establishes that a TRO can only be in effect for 14 days, and no more than one extension can be granted unless subsequent extensions are unopposed.
Are you seeking or have you been served notice of a TRO in Harris County? Make sure to contact The Gonzalez Law Group before your hearing.
Our Houston divorce attorneys help clients in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood, and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Temporary Restraining Orders in Harris County
- Actions Prohibited by Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
- Temporary Restraining Orders vs. Protective Orders
- Temporary Restraining Order Resources in Harris County
Actions Prohibited by Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
Texas Family Code § 6.501(a) establishes that the court can grant a temporary restraining order without notice to the adverse party for the preservation of the property and for the protection of the parties as necessary, including an order prohibiting one or both parties from:
- Intentionally communicating in person or in any other manner, including by telephone or another electronic voice transmission, video chat, in writing, or electronic messaging, with the other party by use of vulgar, profane, obscene, or indecent language or in a coarse or offensive manner, with intent to annoy or alarm the other party;
- Threatening the other party in person or in any other manner, including by telephone or another electronic voice transmission, video chat, in writing, or electronic messaging, to take unlawful action against any person, intending by this action to annoy or alarm the other party;
- Placing a telephone call, anonymously, at an unreasonable hour, in an offensive and repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication with the intent to annoy or alarm the other party;
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to the other party or to a child of either party;
- Threatening the other party or a child of either party with imminent bodily injury;
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring, or otherwise harming or reducing the value of the property of the parties or either party with intent to obstruct the authority of the court to order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage;
- Intentionally falsifying a writing or record, including an electronic record, relating to the property of either party;
- Intentionally misrepresenting or refusing to disclose to the other party or to the court, on proper request, the existence, amount, or location of any tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information;
- Intentionally or knowingly damaging or destroying the tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information;
- Intentionally or knowingly tampering with the tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information, and causing pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the other party;
- Entering any safe deposit box in the name of or subject to the control of the parties or either party, whether individually or jointly with others;
- Changing or in any manner altering the beneficiary designation on any life insurance policy on the life of either party or a child of the parties;
- Canceling, altering, failing to renew or pay premiums on, or in any manner affecting the level of coverage that existed at the time the suit was filed of, any life, casualty, automobile, or health insurance policy ensuring the parties’ property or persons, including a child of the parties;
- Opening or diverting mail or e-mail or any other electronic communication addressed to the other party;
- Signing or endorsing the other party’s name on any negotiable instrument, check, or draft, including a tax refund, insurance payment, and dividend, or attempting to negotiate any negotiable instrument payable to the other party without the personal signature of the other party;
- Taking any action to terminate or limit credit or charge credit cards in the name of the other party;
- Discontinuing or reducing the withholding for federal income taxes from either party’s wages or salary;
- Destroying, disposing of, or altering any financial records of the parties, including a canceled check, deposit slip, and other records from a financial institution, a record of credit purchases or cash advances, a tax return, and a financial statement;
- Destroying, disposing of, or altering any e-mail, text message, video message, or chat message or other electronic data or electronically stored information relevant to the subject matter of the suit for dissolution of marriage, regardless of whether the information is stored on a hard drive, in a removable storage device, in cloud storage, or in another electronic storage medium;
- Modifying, changing, or altering the native format or metadata of any electronic data or electronically stored information relevant to the subject matter of the suit for dissolution of marriage, regardless of whether the information is stored on a hard drive, in a removable storage device, in cloud storage, or in another electronic storage medium;
- Deleting any data or content from any social network profile used or created by either party or a child of the parties;
- Using any password or personal identification number to gain access to the other party’s e-mail account, bank account, social media account, or any other electronic account;
- Terminating or in any manner affecting the service of water, electricity, gas, telephone, cable television, or any other contractual service, including security, pest control, landscaping, or yard maintenance at the residence of either party or in any manner attempting to withdraw any deposit paid in connection with any of those services;
- Excluding the other party from the use and enjoyment of a specifically identified residence of the other party; or
- Entering, operating, or exercising control over a motor vehicle in the possession of the other party.
Under Texas Family Code § 6.501(a)(11), one or both parties can also be prohibited from the following, except as specifically authorized by the court:
- Selling, transferring, assigning, mortgaging, encumbering, or in any other manner alienating any of the property of the parties or either party, regardless of whether the property is personal property, real property, or intellectual property; or separate or community property;
- Incurring any debt, other than legal expenses in connection with the suit for dissolution of marriage;
- Withdrawing money from any checking or savings account in a financial institution for any purpose;
- Spending any money in either party’s possession or subject to either party’s control for any purpose;
- Withdrawing or borrowing money in any manner for any purpose from a retirement, profit sharing, pension, death, or other employee benefit plan, employee savings plan, individual retirement account, or Keogh account of either party; or
- Withdrawing or borrowing in any manner all or any part of the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy on the life of either party or a child of the parties;
Texas Family Code § 6.501(b) states that a TRO cannot include a provision the subject of which is a requirement, appointment, award, or other order listed in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 64.104 or that excludes a spouse from occupancy of the residence where that spouse is living except as provided in a protective order made in accordance with Title 4; prohibits a party from spending funds for reasonable and necessary living expenses; or prohibits a party from engaging in acts reasonable and necessary to conduct that party’s usual business and occupation.
Temporary Restraining Orders vs. Protective Orders
A TRO is a civil order that is remarkably different from orders of protection (more commonly known as protective orders) that are issued in criminal cases. A protective order is issued when a person has been harmed by another person and fears being harmed again, but a restraining order is issued to protect a person’s property after a suit has been filed for the dissolution of the marriage.
A protection order can order a person to stay away from the petitioner’s home and work, and it can also result in a possible loss of firearm rights. A restraining order will only prevent the respondent from taking certain actions relating to the property in question, although a TRO can also prevent any threats to children.
Violating a protection order is a criminal offense in Texas. A violation of a TRO needs to be brought to the attention of the court, which can hold an offender in contempt and may order him or her to pay fines or serve possible jail time.
Temporary Restraining Order Resources in Harris County
Tips on Expedited and Extraordinary Relief — View the full text of an academic paper presented at the State Bar of Texas’ Advanced Civil Trial Course in 2016. The paper provides an overview of TROs and also discusses the availability and application of temporary injunctive relief. You can also learn more about writs of injunction.
Contact Temporary Restraining Order Attorneys in Houston, TX
If you are seeking a TRO or have been served notice of a TRO being issued against you in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. The Gonzalez Law Group represents individuals throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown, and many others.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston can assist people in filing as well as fighting TROs. You can have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (832) 530-4070 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.