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Jack White's Estranged Wife Gets Temporary Restraining Order

By Betty Wang, JD on August 06, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Jack White's estranged wife Karen Elson has secured a temporary restraining order against the former frontman of the White Stripes.

Elson, 34, a British model, successfully asked a Tennessee court to issue the temporary restraining order ("TRO") in July, according to E! News. The TRO prohibits all contact between the ex-couple, except for the purposes of discussing custody issues.

What's behind the TRO, and could it become permanent?

Harassment, Violence Alleged

Jack White and Karen Elson tied the knot in 2005 and separated in 2011, filing for divorce just last year, E! News reports.

In Elson's application for a temporary restraining order against Jack White, Elson claims that her estranged husband has a violent temper and was harassing her attorney via email.

Elson also wants White, 38, to undergo a psychological evaluation because of his allegedly violent tendencies. But White insists Elson's accusations are completely untrue.

TROs Can Become Permanent

Elson took her allegations to court and asked for a TRO. Typically, that's done in a one-sided proceeding as an emergency remedy. When considering TROs, courts generally look at a number of factors such as:

  • The likelihood of success: How effective would the TRO be if granted? In this case, would White actually back off, as Elson wanted her to, and would their kids then be kept safe?
  • The potential for irreparable harm: Would either party be harmed beyond repair if Elson's TRO seeking a stay-away order is granted?
  • The balance of hardships: The court considers what the party requesting the TRO will lose from a denial, along with what the restricted party would lose if it's granted.

The time limit for a TRO varies by state. In Tennessee, TROs are not to exceed 15 days; as Elson's TRO was issued July 19, according to E!, it may have already expired.

Once those 15 days are up, a judge will then hold a hearing to decide if the TRO should be extended, perhaps as a permanent restraining order. Lawyers for both Elson and White will get a chance to argue in front of the judge.

In Jack White's rebuttal filing to the TRO, his lawyer states that White "does not oppose" the stay-away order; rather, "The reason for filing this response is that Mr. White does not want to be portrayed as something he is not, violent toward his wife or children," E! reports. That's something that will likely come up again at the couple's next court hearing.

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