Temporary Protective Orders
How to File a Temporary Protective Order
Because of economics and legal questions surrounding the abandonment of a home, spouses may choose to live in the home together during the divorce. Spouses often feel that if they leave the home the court will award the other spouse the home. If the couple have children, a similar misunderstanding often arises. Spouses are unsure whether he/she can leave the home with the children, or if they leave the home without the children, will the court award the children to the other spouse.
Both issues are misguided and may lead to a couple trying to live together while going through a divorce or custody matter. In most situations, living together in the house will only exacerbate or escalate an already emotional situation. It may take a court 45 to 60 days to make a “temporary” ruling on possession of the house and “temporary” child custody schedule. So, it is possible to have divorcing couples living together for 60 to 90 days.
When our office handles a divorce with potential issues of domestic violence, we advise the client of the Temporary Protective Order process and the domestic standby provided by Metro. If a domestic violence situation is imminent we recommend the client to leave the home or call the police. If the situation provides for the time and opportunity to file papers with the court, we will recommend the client to obtain a Temporary Protective Order (TPO). A TPO is provided under NRS 33.019 for spouses, former spouses, relatives by blood, a roommate, boyfriend/girlfriend, or anyone with whom they have a child in common. If the adverse party does not meet one of these categories then the situation is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against stalking and harassment. TPO’s are filed with the Family Court and TRO’s are filed with the Justice Court.
A TPO is issued based on information provided in an application filed with the court by the victim, under the penalty of perjury. The person requesting the TPO is the applicant. The person from whom the applicant requests protection is the adverse party. The TPO application must contain a detailed summary of the incident giving rise to the need for the order, explaining the imminent harm that will occur if the Order is not granted. It is presented to the court on an ex party basis which means the adverse party is not present or provided notice of the application.
If granted by the court, the TPO will stay in effect for 30 days. The TPO must be served on the adverse party to be effective. The TPO may require the adverse party to stay away from the applicant and any children that were named by the applicant as being in danger. This typically means staying away from the home, the children’s school, and the applicant’s business or place of employment. The TPO orders the adverse party to avoid any contact with the applicant. In addition to no physical contact, this also means no telephone calls, texts or emails by the adverse party. The adverse party cannot use another person to contact the applicant either. It is a complete bar against any contact or communication. If the adverse party violates any terms of the TPO, that party can be arrested and taken to jail.
If the applicant needs protection longer than 30 days, they would file for an extended TPO before the 30 day termination date of the original TPO. An extended TPO would require the respondent to turn over his/her guns or other weapons.