My firm represents both petitioners and respondents in restraining order matters.
A permanent restraining order results in the restrained party losing some of their constitutional rights as they relate to interacting with the protected party (the "petitioner"). Therefore, permanent restraining orders are not granted unless there is Clear and Convincing evidence that: there is a credible threat of violence and/or harassment, that is likely to continue if a permanent restraining order is not granted.
The restraining order process is normally quick. Most cases the outcome will resolve via an expedited hearing, which is in essence a truncated trial. The Judge reviews the pleadings, asks a few questions of the parties, let's them make a statement, and then issues a ruling. As the evidentiary standard of "Clear and Convincing" is higher than for most Civil Cases, the respondent more often than not prevails, and the case is dismissed. When the petitioner has met the evidentiary standard, it will result in a permanent restraining order lasting 1 to 5 years. If the respondent harasses the petitioner while a permanent restraining order is in place the respondent may be arrested.
Sometimes the process is not so quick, and when both parties are feeling harassed by the other, the matter may go to a bench trial. These trials typically take 1 to 3 hours. Both parties will be questioned by their attorneys and opposing party's attorney. Witnesses frequently give testimony. Documentary evidence is presented to the Court. The Judge weighs the evidence including the credibility of the parties and the witnesses to reach a ruling.
In some cases, a Judge will not grant a permanent restraining order regardless of if there is "clear and convincing" evidence of ongoing harassment. When other constitutional rights of the respondent will be infringed by issuing a permanent restraining order, and the likelihood that the petitioner can prevent the need for a permanent restraining order. For example, most Judges are unlikely to issue a permanent restraining order against a landlord in favor of tenant, as the landlord has a constitutional right to their property. The tenant in this situation can pursue a different legal remedy.