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Extending Your Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in Family Court

Order to Show Cause Hearing

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is valid for 180 days from the time the TRO is granted and filed. unless otherwise ordered by the court. If you want to extend the TRO, an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing is required. The date and time of your OSC hearing appears on your TRO. During this hearing, the judge decides whether to extend the TRO beyond 180 days.  The judge can issue a protective order for a time period as he or she deems reasonable. The judge may also decide who has temporary custody of the children. In addition, the judge can order that the abuser take domestic violence intervention or substance abuse programs.

Both parties are ordered to be present, and either party may choose to be represented by an attorney. If you do not appear, your petition may be dismissed by the court and if the respondent does not appear after being served, the respondent may be defaulted.

Presenting Your Evidence

At the OSC hearing, the respondent will have an opportunity to respond to the matters stated in your petition. Each party should be prepared to present their evidence about the alleged domestic abuse. Each party may:

  • Bring witnesses.
  • Bring evidence such as personal records, emails, text messages, medical and police reports (paper copies for the court and the other party).

As the Petitioner, you should report any TRO violations that occurred after the respondent was served.

If the respondent has an attorney, but you don’t have one, you may ask the judge to continue the court date so that you can hire an attorney. The judge may or may not grant your request.  If the judge denies your request, the hearing will proceed, and you will be required to present your evidence of domestic abuse.

If the protective order is granted, and if the respondent has not already done so, the judge will order the respondent to turn his/her firearms over to the police department.

After the Decision

After appearing before the judge, regardless whether the TRO is extended or dissolved, both parties will be required to remain in the court designated waiting areas until they are served with a certified copy of the new court order. The parties will leave the courtroom separately as directed by the court staff. 

Keep a copy of your TRO or order for protection with you at all times and report violations to the police immediately by calling 911.

Remember, a TRO or order for protection does not necessarily make you safe. Please take proper precautions.