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Injunctions in Texas Family Law Cases

Injunctions are a powerful tool in family law. They protect the rights and interests of Parties involved in litigation. An Injunction is a Court Order that directs a Party to refrain from certain behavior that can harm in a case. The purpose of an Injunction in family law is to maintain the status quo during the case and prevent harm. Injunctions safeguard the rights, property, and well-being of individuals involved in divorce, child custody, or domestic violence actions.

Injunctions are meant to maintain the Status Quo. An Injunction is designed to preserve the current situation the Parties find themselves. The aim is to continue to keep the Parties operating as if litigation has not started.

Injunctions can also prevent harm. A Party could also become disruptive once a case has started. One of the purposes of an injunction is to prevent threatening behaviors, harassment, domestic violence, or the depletion of assets.

Types of Injunctions

There are four types of injunctions:

  • Temporary Restraining Orders (or TROs)
  • Standing Orders
  • Temporary Injunctions
  • Permanent Injunctions

Each type of injunction serves a different purpose. The differences are outlined below:

  • Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs)
    • Temporary, time-limited injunction that provides immediate relief until a hearing can be held.
    • Only valid for 14 days and can be extended another 14 days.
    • Can be Joint and Mutual, meaning it applies to both Parties.
  • Standing Orders
    • A set of injunctions that applies to all family law cases in specific counties.
    • Automatic relief from the Judge.
    • Takes effect when a case is filed and lasts until a case concludes.
    • Joint and Mutual, meaning it applies to both Parties.
  • Temporary Injunctions
    • Issued after a Court hearing where both Parties are present.
    • Lasts during the duration of the case until the case concludes.
  • Permanent Injunctions
    • Issued after a Court hearing where both Parties are present.
    • Remains in effect after the case concludes.

Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs)

A Temporary Restraining Order, also known as a TRO, is a “quick fix” injunction. A TRO is only valid for 14 days and it can be extended for a total of 28 days of coverage. A TRO must be requested by a Party for it to take effect. TROs are typically joint and mutual, which means the injunctions apply to both parties. A TRO is meant to act like a band-aid and hold parties over until a Temporary Orders Hearing can be held. The standard injunctions in a TRO refrain Parties from behaving in a way that damages property or harms a Party.

Standing Orders

A Standing Order is a court-issued set of rules and expectations that apply to all Parties of a family law case in specific counties. Standing Orders serve as guidelines that govern the behavior and conduct of the individuals involved in a case. Standing Orders are typically in effect the moment that a family law case is filed. The Standing Orders last until the conclusion of the case.

Temporary Injunctions

A Temporary Injunction is an injunction that lasts during the pendency of the case. You can think of a Temporary Injunction as confirming a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) into a lasting injunction during the pendency of the case.

A Temporary Injunction requires a hearing with both Parties present. A Party is able to request additional injunctions, outside of the standard Joint and Mutual injunctions, if they can prove that it is in the Best Interest of the Child or that it is necessary to preserve the Parties’ estate.

For example, if one Parent has multiple DWIs, the Court may order a Temporary Injunction prohibiting that Parent from driving the child. The Court could also order a Temporary Injunction that prohibits a Parent from drinking while in possession of the child.

In relation to property, the Court may issue an injunction that prohibits one Party from accessing or using a certain bank account or credit card.

It is important to remember that a Temporary Injunction only lasts during the pendency of the case. Once the case concludes, the injunction is removed unless it becomes permanent.

Permanent Injunctions

A Permanent Injunction is an injunction that refrains a Party from behaving a certain way after the case concludes. Unlike a Temporary Injunction, a Permanent Injunction can last beyond the family law case.

In order to obtain a Permanent Injunction, a hearing is required with both Parties present. The Court must find that the injunction is in the Best Interest of the Child or that significant harm could exist in the absence of the injunction.

One example of a Permanent Injunction is that a Party is prohibited from talking about the litigation with the child after the case concludes. Another is that a Party could be prohibited from using the child to relay communications to the Other Party. The Court could also issue an injunction preventing a Party from entering the home awarded to the Other Party.

Consequences of Violating Injunctions

Violating an injunction can carry severe penalties. There could be civil penalties like fines, fees, or an award of attorney’s fees. There could also be criminal charges like jail time for violations. If a Party violates a TRO, Standing Order, or Temporary Injunction during the pendency of the case, it may be damaging to their case. A Party may have a hard time pointing the finger at the Other Party if they are not following the rules. It is imperative that a Party understands the terms and provisions of the injunctions and strictly adheres to them to avoid legal repercussions.

How to Get an Injunction

To obtain an Injunction, you must first figure out which injunction is best to seek. If you believe you need an injunction in your family law case, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process. If you have questions about injunctions, consult with one of our knowledgeable attorneys to ensure your rights are protected.