What Is a Permanent Injuction in a Divorce?

By Elizabeth Rayne

Injunctions often serve an important role during and after the divorce process, particularly in cases of domestic violence. Generally, an injunction prohibits an individual from taking certain actions and allows the other spouse to ask the court to impose penalties, such as jail time, if the injunction is not followed. The laws and the terms used will vary by state and the likelihood of getting an injunction is highly dependent on the particular facts of your case, as well as state law.

Temporary and Preliminary Injunctions

Temporary and preliminary injunctions are commonly awarded while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. Often a spouse will obtain a temporary injunction to prevent either spouse from moving or destroying marital property, taking on debt or harassing the other spouse or child. Generally, a court will grant a temporary order if the spouse can show that, without an injunction, the spouse may cause immediate and actual damage that cannot later be fixed by the spouse. For example, a court may prevent harm to the children or to a unique family asset. The initial temporary order will typically last for a short duration, usually a few days or weeks, after which the court will hold a hearing to decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction. In most cases, preliminary or temporary injunctions last only while the divorce process is ongoing and automatically expire once the divorce is finalized.

Restraining Orders

Some states refer to restraining orders as permanent injunctions or protective orders, which prevent an individual from committing domestic violence against his spouse or children. A restraining order may also prevent him from contacting his spouse or children, or from visiting the spouse's home or workplace. If the court determines that one spouse should not have visitation with the children, a restraining order may also prevent the spouse from having any contact with their school, daycare or doctor. A restraining order may be permanent or temporary.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Other Types of Permanent Injunctions

The court may also award permanent injunctions for issues surrounding custody and property. A permanent injunction may prevent a parent from interfering with the custody schedule or engaging in certain activities while the parent has custody of the child. For example, some states may allow a permanent injunction that prohibits a parent from having an overnight guest of the opposite sex while taking care of the child. Additionally, a permanent injunction may prevent an ex-spouse from interfering or destroying property that was awarded to the other spouse, or interfering with living conditions by shutting off utilities or keeping mail from the other spouse.


If one spouse does not follow the injunction, the other spouse may ask the court to enforce the order. Generally, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the spouse violated the order and may find the violating spouse in contempt of court. Depending on how severely the order was violated, the court has discretion to order a fine or even jail time.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Does Spouse Abuse Affect Child Custody?


Related articles

How to Obtain Child Custody in New Mexico

If you're divorcing your child's other parent, you not only have to prepare to live separate lives, but you must also figure out how to parent from two separate homes. When you file for divorce in New Mexico, you and your spouse must resolve any and all custody issues before the divorce can be finalized. If you are unable to reach an agreement on your own, the court will step in and make the decision for you, choosing a custody arrangement that serves the best interests of your child.

What Is a "Change in Circumstances" in a Custody Case?

Whether the case is concerning an original custody order or a custody modification, courts in every state are primarily concerned with what is in the best interests of the child. Even where the circumstances of a case have significantly changed, a court will only modify a custody order if it is in the best interests of the child. However, state law governs child custody issues and the particular factors up for consideration, time frame and process for requesting custody will vary by state.

Child Custody & Loss of Parental Rights From Drug Abuse

When a parent struggles with drug addiction, his parental rights may be affected. In some cases, child protection agencies may remove a child from a parent’s care if that parent abuses drugs. Likewise, during a divorce, a court may deny a parent custody if he has untreated drug abuse or addiction issues or terminate his parental rights entirely if he does not address his drug abuse problems. Therefore, treating the underlying illness is often key to protecting custody and parental rights.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Divorce Law for Domestic Violence in Tennessee

Divorce is rarely easy, but victims of domestic violence face an especially difficult process since the victim must ...

The Effect of an Order of Protection on Divorce Proceedings in Arizona

In Arizona, an order of protection offers protection from family members, including spouses, who have threatened or ...

How to Divorce a Mentally Unstable Spouse in Florida

A mentally unstable spouse can significantly affect a marriage, and the couple may eventually decide to divorce. Filing ...

For What Reasons Can You Get a Restraining Order?

A restraining order, also referred to as an “order of protection,” is a court order that restricts an action or ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED