A court order is a legal document or proclamation in which a court tells a person to perform a specific act, prohibits him from performing an act, sets a court date, or legally establishes something. For example, a court order may require an individual to pay a specific amount of money to another party. It may also prohibit a person from doing something, such as walking across another party’s property. Some are used to set a date specifying when parties involved in a case are expected to appear in court. Others may establish the relationship between parties in a case.
In many cases, court orders are given in writing and signed by a judge. In some places, however, a judge’s signature isn’t enough; an order has to be notarized to make it official. There are even cases in which an order is given orally in open court. In such a case, the order may be recorded in the court's transcripts but not given to the parties in writing.
Depending on the type of case, a person may suffer penalties for failing to follow the instructions in a court order. For example, a person may lose a case by default if he fails to show up in court at the date and time specified in a court order. If a defendant fails to appear for his trial, he may be arrested and put in jail.
There are many types of court orders. One of the most familiar may be the restraining order. This type of court order requires a person to stay away from another party. It may require the individual to remain a specific distance away from another person. It may even prohibit a party from talking to a specific individual by phone. The purpose of this type of order is to prevent harassment and threatening behavior.
A custody order is another familiar type of court order. This type of order stipulates which parent should have custody of a couple’s minor children. It may also give either or both parties a specific type of custody, such as sole custody, in which one parent has the right to have the children live with him. If joint custody is ordered, the children may live with each parent for part of the time instead of one parent all of the time. Sometimes custody orders are issued at the same time as child support orders, which require a parent to contribute money to a child's care.