Protective Order vs. Restraining Order: What’s the Difference?


A great source of confusion exists relating to the difference between a Restraining Order and a Protective Order.  Gerald Tadlock is a North Texas Family Law and Divorce Attorney with significant experience in seeking, and defending, requests for both types of Orders.  In Texas, a Restraining Order is simply a court order instructing a person or entity to not take a certain activity.  An example of a typical restraining order would be to restrain a divorcing spouse from making withdrawals from their retirement account.  Such a withdrawal is not uncommon in the early stages of divorce when people may be trying to hide funds.

A Protective Order is a completely different type of court order.  In Texas, a Protective Order exists when family violence has occurred, and is issued for the protection of the victim.  The legal standard for issuing a protective order is two-fold.  First, a court must find that family violence has occurred.  Second, a court must find that family violence is likely to occur in the future.  When both findings have been made, a court can issue a protective order for up to two years.

In requesting a Protective Order, the burden of proof is whether the preponderance of the evidence favors the accusing party.  This is a fairly low burden of proof, and can make it difficult to defend against without an experienced family law attorney.  This burden of proof is far lower than a criminal case, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

North Texas Family Law and Divorce Attorney With Experience

While there are substantial differences between Restraining Orders and Protective Orders, they are both tools available to assist parties in a family law matter.  If you are in need of the protections offered by these orders, contact the Tadlock Law Office at 214-550-1122.  Delaying a request for these orders can significantly jeopardize your legal rights.  Trust a North Texas Family Law and Divorce Attorney with the experience to assist with Restraining Orders and Protective Orders.