How long does a restraining order last?

Updated March 23, 2017

A restraining order is a way to legally protect yourself from someone who you believe means you physical harm. Getting a restraining order requires a visit to your local courthouse, and action by a judge or magistrate. Just how long a restraining order lasts, however, is dependant upon the type of restraining order you are granted. Each state does have specific guidelines for restraining orders, but typically, they follow the same range of requirements and protection periods no matter where you live in the United States.

Temporary Restraining Orders

A temporary restraining order, or TRO, is the first type of restraining order a judge issues. The TRO protects the requesting party from harassment and injury from the date the judge signs it into effect until the next scheduled court date.

Temporary Restraining Order Guidelines

The TRO typically mandates the type of contact that can occur between the parties, and that contact typically is very limited to completely prohibited. Generally, the TRO regulations set forth the physical distance, telephone contact, and e-mail communication allowable between the parties.

Judicial Review of Restraining Order Requests

After a judge reviews the court case and circumstances concerning the TRO, he can issue a permanent restraining order that can be enforced for a maximum of five years.

Restraining Orders Concerning Minor Children

When the restraining order concerns minor children, under the age of 18, it is a common practice for a judge or magistrate to order a "no contact" restraining order remain in effect until the child reaches 18 years of age.

Terms and Costs of Restraining Order

There is no charge to secure a restraining order, and the person requesting protection does not need a lawyer or witness to request a restraining order. However, the person requesting protection must show the need for protection to the granting judge, so it is advisable to retain legal counsel. A temporary restraining order can require that the person against whom it is filed pay child or spousal support, move out of a residence, not possess weapons, and have no contact with the protected person, their family members, or roommates.

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About the Author

Tara Dodrill began writing professionally in 1990. She is a travel writer and photographer working for print and online media, primarily covering Florida, ecotourism and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Her writing credits include RUMBUM, Yahoo News, Visit South magazine,and North Carolina Coastal Guide. She studied journalism and education at Ohio University and real estate at Hondros College.