Divorce may be a common part of mainstream culture today, but most people do not know what to expect after they file for divorce from their spouse. A lot goes on in between the time you file for divorce and when the case is finalized. This multi-part blog series takes an in-depth look at the general components of a contested divorce:
- File Petition
- Service of Process
- Temporary Restraining Order
- Temporary Orders hearing
- Prove Up
3. Temporary Restraining Order
- Temporary Restraining Orders (“TRO”) are typically filed in conjunction with the Original Petition for Divorce. The provisions in a TRO are intended to keep the status quo between the parties and their property until the parties can attend a hearing on Temporary Orders. The family court judge signs the temporary restraining order upon receipt of the filed pleadings. A hearing is usually not necessary for the judge to sign a temporary restraining order. A TRO is valid and enforceable for 14 days after the judge signs it.
- In special circumstances, a party can obtain “extraordinary relief” in their temporary restraining order. A request for extraordinary relief can be in the form of ordering one spouse to vacate the marital home immediately due to family violence, or restricting a parent’s access to a child because of dangerous behavior. If the requesting party wants the court to grant such extraordinary relief, he or she must execute an affidavit describing the relevant facts in support of their request.
- After the Respondent is served with the lawsuit, he or she must file an Original Answer by 10:00 A.M. the Monday following 20 days after being served. The Respondent will usually hire an attorney to represent them in the divorce after being served.
- Along with an Original Answer, the Respondent, or the Respondent’s attorney, may also file a Counterpetition for Divorce. Similar to the filing party’s Original Petition, the Counterpetition contains Respondent’s claims and requests for relief in the suit.
- Once the Respondent has been served, the TRO is in place, and the Respondent has filed a response to the lawsuit, the next step is for the party’s to obtain Temporary Orders regarding the parties’ children, property, and any obligations they must be responsible for.