The initial, or Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO"), is relatively easy for the requesting party to attain as it relates to domestic violence matters. However, until you are personally served with the TRO, it is not effectual against you, meaning that you are not enjoined by its provisions sans proper notice.
Notwithstanding, once the TRO is granted by the judicial officer, the TRO does appear in the CLETS system, and thus is visible to law enforcement. If the TRO is vacated or denied at the hearing on the permanent restraining order, theoretically the TRO is expurgated from the CLETS system. If the restraining order is granted as permanent, it remains in the CLETS system for up to five years.
"Theoretically" means that I have had clients who have prevailed against the TRO, yet the record lingered in the CLETS system. With this said, you need to retain counsel, fight back vigorously against the TRO, and, assuming you prevail, take measures to ensure that it is removed from the CLETS system.
I agree with Timothy's answer. TROs are very easy to get and, sadly, are not an uncommon tactic in divorces where one spouse wants to harm or intimidate the other. TROs are meant for emergency situations, however, and expire. Once they expire, they should theoretically be wiped out, but mistakes can delay or prevent this from happening. If it was me, I would affirmatively check myself that the TRO was wiped out. I believe you can do this by going to your local police station, but I am not certain.
However, TROs and divorce cases are part of the court's public records, which means that if I were to go to court and look, I would likely be able to find the file from your divorce and find out that a TRO had been filed against you. In that sense, people will know about your TRO. However, anyone who finds out about your TRO should also find out that it was granted as part of a divorce. Most people should realize that divorces sometimes get crazy and ex-spouses do things like file TROs out of spite.
Anyway, the takeaway I think is (1) the TRO should be wiped off your criminal record once it expires so it should not prevent you from getting employment. If someone asks if you have a criminal record, you can answer no truthfully; (2) people will likely be able to find out that a TRO was filed against you because it will be public record, but they should also realize that it was filed as part of a divorce by an ex-wife. Because people will be able to find out about it, I would prepare an explanation of some kind to offer when it comes up.
Hope that helps.
The answer provided above is based upon California and/or New York law and is based solely upon the limited information provided by the poster. A future in-person consultation may reveal additional facts that may change the answer provided.
You said you did not take any action that would provide a basis for a restraining order. If this is true you should aggressively oppose the the Court continued restraining orders and provide all available proof concerning your conduct toward your ex and affirmatively request sanctions for her making false statements to the court.
This participating Attorney does not warrant any information provided, nor are we creating an Attorney-Client relationship by providing said information to you on this site. Nothing contained herein is intended to constitute, offer, induce, promise, or contract of any kind. The content provided is presented as a courtesy to be used only for informational purposes and is not represented to be error free. The Law Offices of John N. Kitta makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to its answer to inquiries, and such representations and warranties are being expressly disclaimed. Given limited facts, we are attempting to share relevant information concerning this area of the law as a public service.