If you are going through a bitter custody battle, you may expect your ex-spouse to take steps to prevent you from seeing your kids. One of these steps, filing a temporary restraining order, may happen quickly. Still, as a father, you have rights.
While it may be tempting to let a TRO make you angry, losing your temper does not do you or your children much good. Before responding to your ex-wife’s actions, you must know what a TRO means and does not mean for your custody case.
The TRO requires notice
Unless your ex-wife alleges you present some immediate harm to your kids, you should receive notice of her TRO filing. This notice tells you when you must appear in court for a hearing. At the hearing, you may be able to argue against the issuance of a TRO.
The TRO does not last long
Family law judges in the Lone Star State may issue TROs that last up to 14 days. Because they may also order a TRO extension for an additional 14 days, you may not see your kids for almost a month. Nevertheless, if you show up to court, your TRO is not likely to last any longer.
The TRO is a civil matter
Unlike protective orders in criminal cases, a TRO is a civil injunction. Therefore, provided you do not break any laws, officers cannot typically arrest you for violating a TRO. If you do not comply with the terms of the TRO, though, you may face some real consequences in family court. These may include contempt of court or even the eventual loss of custody.
Even though a TRO is likely to make you feel uncomfortable, it is probably not something that should cause you to panic. Ultimately, however, you may want to explore your legal options before attending your TRO hearing.