What is a Temporary Restraining Order? - Zukerman Law

What is a Temporary Restraining Order?

Have you ever felt unsafe due to another person’s actions? Maybe you’re experiencing threats, harassment, or fear for your well-being. In these situations, the legal system offers a tool for immediate protection: a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
A TRO is a court order issued quickly to stop someone from harming you or coming near you. It’s a crucial step to take when your safety is at risk.
If you’re considering seeking a TRO, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the next steps. Here at Zukerman Law Group, we understand the urgency and complexities involved in TRO cases. Our experienced legal team can guide you through the process and ensure your safety is prioritized.

Definition and Purpose of a TRO

Definition and Purpose of a TRO

A TRO is a legal order issued by a court to protect individuals from immediate harm or harassment. It is designed to provide swift, short-term protection until a more permanent solution can be established through a court hearing.
The primary purpose of a TRO is to prevent further abuse, threats, or harassment by imposing legal restrictions on the actions of the individual causing harm.

Situations Where a TRO May Be Necessary

Situations Where a TRO May Be Necessary

TROs are typically sought in urgent situations where an individual feels threatened or endangered. Common scenarios include:

Domestic Violence

One of the most frequent reasons for seeking a TRO is domestic violence. Victims of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse by a spouse, partner, or family member can request a TRO to ensure their safety and well-being.

Harassment and Stalking

Individuals who are being harassed or stalked by another person can seek a TRO to legally prohibit the harasser from contacting or approaching them.

Threats of Violence

When someone threatens another person with violence, a TRO can be issued to prevent any further threats or potential harm.

Workplace Violence

Employees who face threats or violence from coworkers, supervisors, or customers may seek a TRO to maintain a safe working environment.

Child Protection

Parents or guardians can request a TRO to protect their children from abuse, abduction, or exposure to harmful situations.

Difference Between TROs and Permanent Restraining Orders

Difference Between TROs and Permanent Restraining Orders

While both TROs and permanent restraining orders serve to protect individuals from harm, they differ in terms of duration, issuance process, and legal implications:
TRO: A TRO is a temporary measure, typically lasting a few days to a few weeks, until a full court hearing can be held. The exact duration varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of the case.
Permanent Restraining Order: After a court hearing in which both parties present their cases, a judge may issue a permanent restraining order. Depending on the circumstances and the judge’s decision, this order can last for several months, years, or even indefinitely.
Issuance Process:
TRO: Obtaining a TRO is usually a quicker process, as it is designed to provide immediate protection. It can often be granted ex parte, meaning the judge can issue the order without the presence of the person against whom the order is sought.
Permanent Restraining Order: Issuing a permanent restraining order requires a more thorough judicial process, including a formal hearing where both parties can present evidence and arguments. The judge makes a decision based on the merits of the case.
TRO: Violating a TRO can result in immediate legal consequences, including arrest and potential criminal charges. It serves as a preliminary measure to maintain safety until a more permanent solution is determined.
Permanent Restraining Order: Violating a permanent restraining order carries more severe legal consequences, including potential imprisonment, fines, and a permanent criminal record. It provides long-term protection and legally binding restrictions on the individual’s actions.

Temporary Orders to Prevent Domestic Violence

Temporary Orders to Prevent Domestic Violence

Under state law, individuals in danger of violence or abuse from a family member can request a court order to stop the abuse and protect themselves. These orders are known by various names depending on the state, such as domestic violence protective orders, injunctions for protection against domestic violence, or orders of protection.
In urgent situations, a judge may issue a TRO that takes effect immediately but lasts for a limited time. These TROs are also known as “ex parte” orders, meaning the judge issues them based solely on the applicant’s request without hearing from the defendant.

Who May Get a Domestic Violence TRO?

Historically, domestic violence TROs were restricted to individuals in danger of abuse from close relatives, including current and former spouses. However, some states now include a broader range of relatives. Additionally, many states have expanded the definition of domestic violence to encompass abuse in relationships beyond traditional families, such as:

  • Couples who live or lived together without being married
  • Parents who had a child together without being married
  • People who live in the same household but aren’t a couple or related
  • Individuals who are or were recently in a serious dating relationship

If you’re being endangered or intimidated by someone who doesn’t fit your state’s definition of domestic or family abuse, you might still be able to obtain a TRO under other state laws.
Even if you’re in a qualifying relationship with your abuser, your ability to obtain a TRO will depend on how your state defines abuse. In some states, the abuser must have already committed a crime against you, such as assault, stalking, threats of immediate violence, or criminal property damage. Other states allow protective orders in a wider range of situations.

How Do You Get a TRO?

How Do You Get a TRO?

A TRO is a serious legal step that can offer immediate protection in situations of fear for your safety. The process for obtaining a TRO will vary depending on your location, but here’s a general breakdown of the steps involved:

Finding the Right Court

Obtaining a TRO typically involves going to your local family court. However, procedures can vary by location. Here’s how to find the right court:

  • Contact your local courthouse: They can direct you to the appropriate family court division handling TRO requests.
  • Search online: Many government websites have information on family courts and TRO procedures specific to your area.

Preparing Your Case

Evidence is crucial for a successful TRO application. Here’s what you can gather to strengthen your case:

  • Police reports: If you’ve filed police reports about threats or harassment, bring copies.
  • Medical records: If you’ve received medical attention due to the situation, include relevant records.
  • Witness statements: If anyone witnessed the threatening or harassing behavior, obtain written statements from them.
  • Documentation: Keep any emails, texts, or voicemails containing threats or harassment.

The Application Process

While procedures might differ slightly by location, the general steps involve:

  • Filling out the application: Court staff or a local victim advocacy organization can often assist you with this.
  • Submitting the application: File the completed application with the court clerk. There may be a filing fee.
  • Hearing with a Judge: The judge will review your application and evidence. Be prepared to clearly explain the situation and why you fear for your safety.
  • Serving the Respondent: If the TRO is granted, the other party (respondent) will be served with a copy outlining the restrictions they must follow.
How Zukerman Law Group Can Assist Clients in Obtaining and Enforcing TROs

How Zukerman Law Group Can Assist Clients in Obtaining and Enforcing TROs

Zukerman Law Group is a family law firm that specializes in handling various family law matters, including divorce, child custody, property division, and protective orders like TROs. The firm offers personalized legal strategies and unwavering support to clients seeking TROs.
Zukerman Law Group provides professional legal advice, assisting clients in determining if a TRO is the appropriate course of action. We help clients prepare necessary documentation and evidence for a TRO application, including completing forms, drafting affidavits, and gathering supporting materials.
We also represent clients at hearings, presenting a strong case on behalf of the client, advocating for their safety, and ensuring their voice is heard in court.
If a TRO is granted, Zukerman Law Group ensures the order is properly served on the respondent and provides guidance on what to do if the order is violated. We work closely with law enforcement and the courts to enforce the TRO and protect the client’s rights.
Zukerman Law Group also assists clients with requests to modify or extend TROs if circumstances change or further protection is needed. The lawyers provide legal advice and representation throughout this process to secure the necessary adjustments to the order.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are in immediate danger or need legal protection, contact Zukerman Law Group now.


Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are vital tools for protecting individuals from immediate harm or harassment. Understanding the process of obtaining a TRO, the necessary documentation and evidence, and the role of legal representation is crucial for anyone facing dangerous situations. Whether it’s domestic violence, harassment, or any other threat, a TRO can provide the immediate protection needed to ensure safety and peace of mind.


  • 1- What proof do you need for a restraining order in Canada?1

    You’ll need to gather police reports, photographs of damaged property or injuries, witness testimony, or recorded conversations.

  • 2- Can you get a restraining order on someone in Canada?1

    Yes, you can obtain a restraining order in Canada. Individuals who are experiencing harassment, threats, or abuse can apply for a restraining order through the family court or the criminal court, depending on the situation. Family law restraining orders are typically used in situations involving domestic relationships, such as between spouses, former partners, or family members, and can include conditions to prevent contact or proximity. In urgent cases, a temporary restraining order can be issued quickly to provide immediate protection until a full hearing can be held.

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Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.