The terms “restraining order” and “protective order” are often used interchangeably, but these terms actually describe two different types of court orders. An individual who needs to secure either of these two types of orders will want to understand the important differences between them. Attorney Daniel K. Peugh describes the important distinctions below.

The differences can generally be described in terms of the following, common legal issues. In harassment and stalking cases, the appropriate order is a protective order because someone needs protection from an alleged stalker or harasser. In divorce cases, and many other types of civil cases, the appropriate order is a restraining order because it serves as a behavioral guideline for the parties.

What is a Restraining Order:

Generally, a restraining order is an order entered by a court that instructs the parties involved in a case what is permissible behavior and, most importantly, what kinds of behavior and/or actions are prohibited.

A common example is a court entering a restraining order to stop an individual from selling or otherwise disposing of property while a divorce is pending. This order helps ensure that the property remains an available asset until the court can determine which party should receive the rights to it. It is often quite common for a court to have a type of standing restraining order for all divorce cases in order to let the parties know acceptable behavior from the outset of filing. It is important to follow these types of orders. If this situation applies to you, let Attorney Daniel K. Peugh help you today.

In an emergency situation, a court may also issue a temporary restraining order (“TRO”). A TRO is often issued ex parte, meaning the TRO was entered on the request of and for the benefit of one party only. This is an exception to the commonly accepted rule of procedure that both parties must be present at any hearing or argument before a judge, and to the otherwise very strict rule that an attorney may only present an argument before a judge after previously notifying the opposition. These types of orders help protect property and can restrict someone from possibly harming a child, until the court can schedule and notify the parties of a hearing on the merits where both parties can be present and present argument to the judge. In most cases, a TRO will only stay in place for a maximum of fourteen (14) days, or until the court can schedule a hearing.

What is a Protective Order:

A protective order — sometimes called an “order of protection” — is a type of court order that is put in place to prohibit an individual from threating or harassing another person.

The amount of time a protective order remains in effect varies from case to case, however most protective orders will typically run for two years or less. In order to continue a protective order, a hearing will need to be scheduled and the court must decide if the protective order should be extended or otherwise modified.

When a protective order is entered by a court, the subject of the order is generally prevented from having any kind of contact with the victim. Prohibited forms of contact may include both in-person contact or contact through other communication devices such as phone, chat, or email.

A protective order may also place geographical restrictions between the parties and can prevent someone from going within a certain physical distance of the victim, their workplace, their property, and/or their immediate and extended family.

Protective orders are usually used in criminal situations. However, it is possible for a court to issue a protective order in civil cases, like a family law case. During a divorce proceeding, for example, if one spouse accuses the other spouse of harassing, stalking, or otherwise threatening them, the court may deem issue a protective order for the benefit of the victimized spouse.

In a domestic case in Texas, it is possible see both a restraining order and a protective order put in place during the life of a case, especially if one spouse has been accused of threatening or having carried out physical harm to the other spouse or their children.

It is very important to get help from the appropriate law enforcement agency in your area if you believe that another person poses an immediate danger to you or your family. The law office of Daniel K. Peugh is also here to help you get the protection you need for yourself and your family.

Contact us today so that we can help you decide what type of order is best for your situation. We are here to help!