Not all divorces are an amicable parting of ways. In fact, in cases where domestic abuse either physical or emotional is involved, things can be far from pretty. Sometimes, if one spouse – usually the woman – feels that her life is endangered by continuing to live in the same home as her estranged spouse or even interact with him on any level, she may file a TRO or temporary restraining order. Here’s what you need to know about temporary restraining orders during divorce.
What does a temporary restraining order achieve? For a victim of domestic abuse, the temporary restraining order can mean the difference between life and death. In spite of filing for a divorce, the abusive spouse may not let up on the harassment of their soon to be ex. In fact, the very act of serving divorce papers to the abusive party may trigger another fit of rage. And there’s nothing more dangerous than a spurned lover, or in this case – spouse.
Physical abuse or emotional abuse and the TRO A TRO applies not just to cases involving physical abuse, but also for emotional or mental abuse. Courts recognize that this can be just as damaging, and is usually sympathetic, especially when there are children involved. While it may be easier to prove instances of physical abuse by having a medical doctor or neighbor provide testimony or providing photographic evidence, you can have a similar testimony also provided by similar upstanding community members that know you and your spouse well and may have witnessed such instances of mental or emotional abuse.
How do you get a temporary restraining order? To get a TRO, you will need to file a motion in court for approval by a judge. Once he or she signs off on the temporary restraining order, you are protected by law from being approached by your abusive partner. A TRO goes by various names including an order of protection, or an injunction. It helps you by forcing your abusive ex to stay away from you once they are notified of the TRO. Usually, this will mean they are excluded from contacting you, your kids and other members of your immediate family, or otherwise as dictated by the terms of the TRO. It will also list out locations that are deemed taboo for the person against whom the TRO is issued. This may include your home, your place of work, the kids schools, your car, the day care facility your kids go to and so on. Violation of such an order can result in the abuser being put behind bars, should you approach the court or the cops to enforce the TRO. Remember, if you are a victim of abuse in your marriage, you don’t necessarily have to have a separate domestic violence case in court to get a TRO. Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.