If you are in the process of separating or filing for divorce and you have been the victim of physical abuse, threats, or harassment you may be allowed to request a Protective Order, which is a civil request to prevent further contact with the abuser.
What can a Protective Order do for me?
If you are the victim of abuse a protective order can be issued against the offender to stop further abuse or violent actions and eliminate the threat of harassment. Protective Orders may also have specific language which outlines how property is disposed and transferred, how the visitation of a child must occur, how child support must be paid, and how the abuser must vacate the residence.
Although the Protective Order is a civil order, which means violation of the order may not result in criminal charges against the violator. Civil action can be taken including fines, penalties, and jail time assessed against the offender.
Can I get a Protective Order against my spouse?
Protective Orders are only issued if specific conditions are met. For instance, if you request a Protective Order against another person the court will determine if they believe the violence is likely to occur again. They will also determine if you are asking for an order to be issued against another relative (related by blood or marriage), whether you have lived with the offender, or whether you have a child together. If you have filed for divorce from the offender you also may have the right to have a Protective Order issued but you will need to request the order in the same court in which the divorce is pending.
Getting a Protective Order in Texas
If you live in the state of Texas and are filing for divorce you may be able to request a Protective Order against your spouse by talking to a private attorney, the district attorney, or a county attorney. There are also legal aid service programs which can provide help. All counties in the state of Texas can issue Protective Orders, but you must complete the Protective Order application in the county where either you or the offender resides.
To complete the application you will need your name and address and the county of residence for both you and the offender. You will also have to identify the relationship of the victim and offender and information about the offense(s).
How long until the order is issued?
Hearings for Protective Orders should be scheduled within 14 days from the date of the application. If there is immediate danger to the filer the court may issue a temporary ex parte order which is valid for 20 days. After the permanent Protective Order is issued it is valid for up to one year from the date it is issued.
Protective Order violated what do I do?
Unfortunately, a Protective Order does not stop all violent actions. If you feel threatened with or without a Protective Order you should call the police immediately.
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