Violence at home? Here Is the Guide for Requesting an Order of Protection in TX

By
Real Estate Attorney with Real Estate Attorneys' Blog

If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may request an Order of Protection from a Texas family court. Family violence is generally defined as an act of violence or threat of physical harm by someone who lives in your household or is related by blood or marriage. 

Examples of individuals who might be subject to an Order of Protection include:

  • Anyone related by marriage or blood
  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Parents of the same child
  • Foster children and foster parents
  • Roommates
  • Step-parents or step-children
  • Any member or former member of your household

Any adult member of the household can apply for an Order of Protection for themselves or any other member of the applicant's family or household. 

What is an Order of Protection?

An Order of Protection or Protective Order is a court order intended to stop family or domestic violence. It applies in situations in which a family member or other household member is stalking, harassing, abusing, or threatening another family or household member. The person seeking the Protective Order is the applicant or petitioner, and the abuser is referred to as the respondent. 

A judge may include various conditions in an Order of Protection to protect the petitioner. For example, the judge may order the respondent to leave the home. 

The Protection Order might also require that the respondent:

  • Enter into counseling or therapy
  • Turn over firearms or weapons
  • Pay spousal support or other domestic support obligations
  • Stay away from the petitioner's residence, workplace, school, or other locations
  • Stay away from a protected child's school, daycare, and residence
  • Refrain from communicating with the petitioner and other family members
  • Stop threatening, harassing, or stalking the petitioner and any other protected person
  • Refrain from committing any future acts of family violence

Respondents who violate an Order of Protection can be arrested and fined. The judge may impose other punishments depending on the circumstances of the violation.

How Can I Get an Order of Protection in Texas?

Courts may grant petitions for Protective Orders even if you have left your home to relocate to a safe location. If that is the case, the judge could order the abuser to leave the family home so that you can return to your home.

You must file an application with the court to obtain an Order of Protection. If you have an attorney, contact your attorney. You may also obtain the forms for requesting a Protective Order from a legal aid office or the district or county attorney's office. 

Several domestic violence advocacy groups throughout Texas assist individuals in obtaining Orders of Protection. The application must be filed in the county where you live or the county where the abuser lives. Your address can be kept confidential to protect you from further violence.

Protective Orders are available in every county in Texas. There is not a residency requirement to file for an Order of Protection. Therefore, if you relocated recently to a safe place, you could proceed with filing an application for a Protective Order in the county of your current residence.

There is no fee for applying for a Protective Order. County and district attorney's offices and the sheriff's office are not permitted to charge fees related to filing, serving, or modifying applications for Protective Orders. 

If the court finds the respondent committed family violence, the court may order the respondent to pay all court costs, fees, and expenses related to the application for the order. The respondent may be ordered to pay your attorneys' fees if you used a private attorney. 

Issuing an Order and Conducting a Hearing

The judge reviews the application for a Protective Order. If the judge believes that there is a threat of family violence, the judge may issue a temporary order for up to 20 days. The order can be issued without the respondent's knowledge.

The court sets a hearing date within 14 days from the application's filing date. The respondent is served with the temporary order and the hearing notice. After a hearing, the judge may issue a final Order of Protection, which can be effective for up to two years. 

In most situations, an Order of Protection is a deterrent to family violence. Local law enforcement agencies are notified of the Order of Protection. However, a piece of paper cannot protect you from all acts of violence. 

Even though you receive an Order of Protection in Texas, you should continue to take steps to protect yourself and other family members from the abuser. You can obtain additional information from the Family Violence Program of the Texas Health and Human Resources and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Comments (7)

John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Welcome to the ActiveRain community. Congratulations on your first post.

Dec 23, 2020 05:49 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Jessica Walle very good report about violence at home, and the guide for requesting an order of protection.

Dec 23, 2020 05:50 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.

Dec 24, 2020 01:59 AM
Graziella Bruner
NCS Premier Real Estate - Detroit, MI
Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County

Welcome to Active Rain and congratulations on your first post. Great information, wishing you a blessed and wonderful Merry Christmas, be blessed and be safe.

Dec 24, 2020 12:00 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Welcome to ActiveRain and thank you for this informative post on how to file a protection order in the great state of Texas. Thank you Jessica Walle 

Dec 28, 2020 07:51 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Jessica Walle welcome to ActiveRain, and congratulations on successfully posting your first blog on this site.

Jan 03, 2021 11:55 AM
Gwen Fowler-864-638-3599 SC Mountains Lakes Homes
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

Hey, I saw this is your first blog post Congrats! Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, I look forward to reading more from you! - Gwen 

Feb 15, 2021 10:08 AM