Christina Jimenez and Joshua Floyd give a brief discussion about temporary restraining orders.
We recently published a new informative and educational video on “Temporary Restraining Orders” as used in Texas Family Law.
Jimenez Law Firm attorneys Christina Jimenez and Joshua Floyd guide the viewer through a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) used in Texas and its purpose in Family Law to place injunctions on one or both parties without a court hearing. Christina and Joshua give a thorough explanation of what a TRO prohibits, specifically when it could endanger children or damage property.
This video is found on the Video Center page. Several other educational and informative videos can be found on this page you will find very useful. For more information or to request an appointment, see the contact phone numbers for a Jimenez Law Firm location near you at the top of the page or complete the “Contact our firm now” form to get help with your legal issue.
The Jimenez Law Firm, P.C. specializes in Family Law and Criminal Defense. Our offices are located in Flower Mound, Lewisville, and Odessa, Texas and we provide representation to residents throughout North Texas and West Texas who are struggling through a wide range of legal dilemmas. Many legal situations can be resolved through negotiation and mediation. When this communication breaks down, however, it is important to have an attorney on your side who has courtroom experience.
We are not only skilled negotiators but accomplished trial litigators. In fact, we prepare for every case as if it would be decided in court. Clients appreciate our attention to detail and our thorough preparation. We represent residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in communities such as Lewisville, Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Flower Mound, Westlake, Southlake, Frisco, Plano, Carrollton, Farmer’s Branch, Irving, Grapevine, Highland Village, Richardson and in residents of West Texas such as Odessa, Midland, Monahans, Andrews, Crane and Fort Stockton.
At 00:21 – Anytime we file a civil suit, a family suit, if it’s for a modification, if it’s a divorce, a SAPCR (suit affecting the parent-child relationship), or a pseudo-effective parent-child relationship, or a petition to adjudicate, any family motion, most counties will serve you a document called a temporary restraining (TRO).
At 1:05 – In in some counties you do not have to request a restraining order because they have implemented what we refer to as standing orders. A standing order document is just like a TRO. However, in the event of needing extraordinary measures, there may also be a TRO.
At 2:16 – Throughout the video, we will be referring to the temporary training order as a TRO. We will walk you through an example document so we can talk about some items that are often misinterpreted.
At 2:56 –The purpose of the TRO and standing orders is to keep everything the same until you get to a hearing. In our example, items 1-5 are the specific orders that protect both parties. There are many line items to cover. But, as an overview, Items 6-12 are the orders that protect the, and then 33-37 are the orders that protect the children. In this TRO there are other items such as specific authorization and extraordinary relief, which we will address as we go.
At 03:47 – In this case example, the petitioner is John Smith, and he is filing a case against his soon-to-be ex-wife, Jane Smith. They have two kids named Joe and Jack. The court has examined the pleadings and affidavit and determined the petitioner is entitled to a TRO.
At 04:09 – Depending on how extraordinary the circumstances, your lawyer may submit an affidavit that includes denying access to the children. However, most TROs do not contain an affidavit.
At 04:43 – As we said, the first five items pertain to protecting the persons or the individuals. A divorce is a very emotional time and people may act out of character. So, the TRO is there to protect the client from behaving in a way they would not behave in normal circumstances.
At 05:45 – The biggest concern I hear from clients is that they are not allowed to call the kids or talk to the other party. This is not accurate. Let’s discuss number 1 in the TRO. The first part of the sentence is misleading. It states that the party is restrained from communicating with the Petitioner in person or by phone or other devices. But the last part of the sentence clearly says, “by use of vulgar, profane, obscene or indecent language or in a coarse or offensive manner, with intent to annoy or alarm Petitioner.” That means, do not be rude nor cause bodily harm.
At 06:20 – Number 2 says you cannot threaten the other party. Number 3 states you cannot call at unreasonable hours, in a repetitious manner, or to annoy or alarm the Petitioner. Number 4 states you cannot cause bodily injury. Number 5 states you cannot threaten the Petitioner or child with bodily injury. So again, these are actions you most likely would not do, and the actions can result in criminal consequences. The statements are in the document to protect the Petitioner and the children.
At 07:09 – It is particularly important to note that is that once you are served a TRO, you can be held in contempt of court for violating the TRO. So, you would have civil and criminal contempt actions brought against you in a lawsuit. Your best move is to follow the TRO.
At 07:36 – Numbers 6 through 32 all pertain to property. Line-item number 6 is the overarching statement that says do not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly destroy, remove, conceal, encumber, transfer, or harm the value of the property. So, don’t destroy it, sell it, hide it away, or otherwise try to conceal it from the distribution of the property. You may not do anything to try to prevent the other party or the court from finding out the value of the property.
At 09:00 – Line item number 7 says that you cannot falsify documents. Number 8 states you cannot refuse to disclose requested information to the court or the party. You cannot damage items or intellectual property. Once you are served a TRO, tampering with social media is a violation of the TRO. One of the important items is that you cannot delete social media posts or texts because you are afraid they are going to have a negative effect on the case.
At 09:45 – Numbers 12, 13, and 14 are often a concern for potential clients. The clients believe that they are not allowed to use their credit cards or take money out of the bank. However, the TROs and standing orders allow for exceptions. The order states that the Respondent can spend money in reasonable ways to pay for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and other normal business transactions. It also allows for reasonable attorney’s fees. These property items are in the order for a divorce case, but not a SAPSER or a case concerning children. Also, concerning numbers 15,16,17,18, what the court is attempting to do is prevent someone from liquidating the 401K accounts or brokerage accounts. This order is to ensure the money stays in the financial accounts unless it is for living expenses or attorney fees.
At 12:36 – The next section is concerning life insurance policies. The court wants to prevent the Respondent from canceling or changing a life insurance policy. Also, the spouse must remain on the health insurance policy. A car insurance policy must be renewed during this period of time until the hearing. All insurance stays the same.
At 13:19 – Do not open the Petitioner’s mail. This one is especially important. So, number 22 states that you cannot sign the Petitioner’s name on a check, access a tax refund, or anything else that is payable. The money must be put on hold until the court decides how to proceed. You may not cut the spending limit the credit card. This is important, when you are served with this TRO, it is in effect for no more than 14 days. It can be extended, but after this period there will be a temporary orders hearing. During the hearing, you can make requests such as not allowing the spouse to have a credit card. Or, if the Respondent has the tax refund, you can ask for it to be cashed or disbursed so the money can be used for living expenses. The court can make the determination on who can use those funds.
At 15:14 – The federal tax withholdings cannot be discontinued or altered during this time. You cannot destroy financial records, void checks, or otherwise limit the other party’s access to the accounts. Both parties must remain on the financial accounts. It is best to leave everything the same until the hearing date.
At 16:14 – Number 28 is important. It is about deleting any content from any social media profile created by either party or their children. All information must be preserved. If you delete the content, then there could be an issue. For example, if the judge hears that the Respondent had pictures of drug paraphernalia, but it was deleted, then the court will presume the Petitioner is correct and the Respondent can be held in contempt. If you have been served, the other party has most likely taken a screenshot of the incriminating posts. And so, if the posts are deleted, there could be criminal charges of tampering with evidence. And that is a felony.
At 18:00 – Do not use PINs or passwords to access the other party’s bank or social media accounts. Typically, spouses have all the information, but it cannot be used during the TRO. Number 30 and 31 says do not terminate any utilities, cable TV, phone services, or any other contractual obligations like pest control or lawn care. Also, do not exclude the Petitioner from the use of the house. It is possible to remove someone from the residence, but we will not address that today.
At 19:27 – Order number 32 states that you cannot prevent the other party from using the motor vehicles.
At 19:55 – The following items are there for the children. Number 33 means do not disturb the children’s daily routine. They cannot be withdrawn from enrollment at daycare or school. Do not hide the children from the Petitioner. Number 36 states you cannot bad mouth the other parent or speak poorly about the Petitioner around the children. Number 37 says you cannot have an unrelated adult with whom you are romantically involved, in the house between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am. The reason being is that this situation is not best for the kids during a divorce.
At 20:34 – I want to add that disturbing the peace of the child or other party is very general. A client may say that they do not want the other parent driving the kids to school anymore or going on a baseball trip. It is best for the kids to remain in the status quo. The court will take care of the issues. Just make it as easy as possible for the children.
At 21:59 – In the document, the relevant provision states the TRO is in effect immediately and will remain so until it expires. It is also binding on the Respondent’s employees, agents, servants, and anyone in concert with the Respondent. So, when a client asks if his family member can go to the bank to close an account or if my mom can take the car from the spouse, the answer is, “No”. You will be held liable for their actions.
At 23:10 – This is the portion we mentioned earlier that requires an affidavit. For this purpose, it is called extraordinary relief. This is an emergency measure to protect the child. So, in the example case, we are doing a rid of attachment. This allows the constable to pick up the child. It also states the Respondent is not allowed to have any possession of the child. The affidavit must show why the children would suffer in the hands of the other parent. Once it is signed, there is going to be a “rid of attachment”, which is a document that allows the constable to pick up the kids. The Respondent may not have access until after a court hearing. Typically, the court grants this type of relief due to the severity of the nature of the situation, such as drugs, kidnapping the children, or other dangerous or extreme behaviors.
At 24:57 – If you receive an order like this or a TRO, the best thing for you to do is to get an attorney and comply with the order. This is a serious affair, and your best bet is to comply with the law and the courts and get an attorney who can help you navigate through this. You must attend the hearing, and the court will make a judgment if the TRO should be made a temporary injunction pending the final hearing. That means that the 37 items we have discussed will remain in order throughout the suit. This is for everyone’s protection, to preserve assets, and to prevent harassment and threatening actions.
At 26:28 – The rest of the order is regarding conservatorship. Also, I want to point out that in this case, we mentioned that the Respondent is not allowed to do a number of things. And so, if you are the Respondent then your best bet is to get your own attorney and then petition a TRO on your behalf. Then both parties have orders to not harass one another, delete social media posts, spend money recklessly, hide the children from one another, and so forth. And my advice to my clients is to be respectful because even if you are not held in contempt of court, some actions will not be looked upon favorably by a judge.
At 28:26 – To summarize, follow the TRO, and if you are ever served with a TRO, then reach out to a good family law attorney.