If you or a household member are the victim of domestic violence in Texas, you may be eligible to file for a protective order. This type of court order can prevent future contact with your abuser and increase your safety. Working with a reputable family law attorney can help you determine whether you qualify under the state’s laws. Your lawyer can guide you through the whole process and advocate for your rights.
What Are the Grounds for a Protective Order?
To petition a family law court for a protective order, you must establish any of the following relations to your abuser:
- Blood relation
- Relation through marriage
- Dating and/or intimate relationship
- Previous or current household member
- Sharing a child
A wide range of abusive behaviors can fall under the umbrella term of domestic violence, including emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. Harassing, threatening, and stalking are also common grounds to seek a protective order. If you are unsure whether your situation qualifies for a protective order, you should speak with a lawyer.
What Does a Protective Order Do?
A protective order can prohibit your abuser from specific actions towards you and your loved ones, such as:
- Contacting you in person, via a third party, or through communication tools
- Coming near your home, work, or school
- Possessing or carrying a firearm
The judge may also rule that your abuser must pay medical expenses for injuries their violence caused. The protective order may also require child support from your abuser and grant you child custody. Depending on your specific situation, a judge may still permit your abuser to have visitation rights with the children you share, but usually under supervision. Following the finalization of the protective order, your abuser may also have to attend counseling.
How Do I Petition for a Protective Order in Texas?
Hiring a lawyer to help you fill out and submit the official petition for a protective order can help you secure a positive outcome. After receiving and reviewing your petition, your local court schedules a hearing. If your request provided sufficient evidence that you and/or your child are in danger, they may issue a temporary protective order that takes immediate effect.
During the court hearing, to which your attorney can accompany you, you must demonstrate the validity of your claim.
Common evidence of domestic violence includes:
- Police reports
- Medical documents
- Photographs of injuries
- Threatening voicemails, texts, emails, or social media posts
- Witnesses’ accounts
Both parties have the right to a lawyer. Making sure you have one can increase your chances of a judge granting your request and issuing a final protective order.
How Long Does a Protective Order Last?
A final protective order usually lasts for up to two years. However, certain aggravated circumstances can result in a longer duration. If you need to amend your protective order or petition for an extension, you should consult with your lawyer about your available options.
Protect Your and Your Family’s Rights with Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. in Houston
With 35 years of family law experience, attorney Tracy and the rest of our team have a successful track record of helping victims of domestic violence obtain protective orders for themselves and their families. Before founding our firm, attorney Tracy worked as an associate judge and a managing attorney with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. We maintain a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the laws governing family matters and domestic violence in the state.
Our priority is to find a solution that meets your needs. We understand how traumatic domestic abuse can be and we are committed to supporting you throughout the process of obtaining a protective order. Our team recommends that you reach out to us as soon as you experience domestic violence. This way, we can walk you through the process and help you gather all the necessary evidence you must submit to a judge for review.
If your abuser violates a protective order after a judge issued it, attorney Tracy can help you bring the issue back to court. A violation of a protective court order can result in additional penalties and even incarceration. We are here to address any questions or concerns you may have as we work together to protect your and your loved ones’ safety. Our office also provides Spanish translation for your convenience.
Are you a victim of domestic violence in Houston or its surrounding areas? Contact Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. today at (281) 612-5443 to schedule a protective order consultation!