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TX family lawyerThere are many different types of situations where a person may fear for the safety of themselves, their children, or other family members or people who live in their home. Whether a person in a family has been the victim of domestic abuse, or conflict between divorcing spouses has escalated to the point of physical violence, those who are in danger of harm can take action to address this issue and prevent a person from abusing, injuring, or threatening them. People in Texas who are in this type of situation will need to understand their options for receiving a protective order that will help keep them and their family safe.

Types of Protective Orders

Those who are in need of immediate protection can file a petition in court for a temporary protective order, which is also known as an “ex parte order.” If a judge believes, based on the information contained in an application for an ex parte order, that there is a clear and present danger that a person will commit family violence, they may issue a temporary protective order without holding a hearing. This order may prohibit a person from taking specific actions, such as committing domestic abuse, contacting the petitioner or their family members, or entering a shared residence. Temporary protective orders can remain in effect for 20 days, and they can be extended for additional 20-day periods if necessary.

In cases where a person has been arrested on family violence charges, a criminal court judge may issue a Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection, and this type of order is mandatory in situations where a person allegedly inflicted serious bodily injury while committing family violence or used a deadly weapon when committing domestic assault. A Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection can prohibit a person from committing any further acts of family violence or communicating with members of their family or household in a way that is threatening or harassing. A person may also be ordered to stay away from a family member’s home, school, or workplace, and they may be required to turn over any firearms they own or a concealed handgun license. A discretionary order can remain in effect for 31 to 61 days, while a mandatory order can remain in effect for 61 to 91 days.

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TX divorce lawyerWhen parents choose to end their marriage through divorce, they may need to address a variety of complex child custody issues. While parents may be able to work together to reach agreements regarding how they will share custody, disagreements over these or other issues can sometimes spiral out of control and turn threatening or violent. In situations involving family violence or where a parent fears for the safety of themselves or their children, a protective order can address these concerns. However, protective orders can also be based on false accusations, or they may be used in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage during divorce. Those who wish to obtain or defend against a protective order should be sure to work with an experienced family law attorney.

What Can a Protective Order Do?

If a person has allegedly committed acts of family violence (including physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, threats to harm a person, or kidnapping) against their spouse, ex-spouse, dating partner, or children in their household, their current or former partner can file a petition for an emergency protective order in family court. This type of restraining order is known as a temporary ex parte protective order. An emergency protective order will be in effect for 14 days, and a hearing will be held to determine whether a permanent protective order will be necessary.

A protective order can place a number of requirements on the respondent, (the spouse who is accused of committing acts of family violence), as well as the petitioner (the spouse who petitioned the court for protection). Typically, a protective order will require the respondent to stay a certain distance away from the petitioner, their children, and other members of their household, and it may state that the respondent cannot go near certain places such as a home, workplace, school, or daycare center. The respondent will also be prohibited from communicating directly or indirectly with the respondent or other family members in a threatening or harassing manner or engaging in behavior meant to harass, threaten, annoy, or embarrass them.

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Texas domestic abuse laws, Texas complex litigation lawyerDivorce can be challenging enough under normal circumstances, but when the issue of domestic violence is also in the picture, the divorce process is even more complex. Whereas typical divorce can involve a mixture of minor or major disagreements about finances, property, and lifestyle arrangements, domestic violence in the midst of divorce brings an entirely different level of fear to the surface for those undergoing separation. Partners are forced to worry about everything from their day-to-day survival, money and how they will support themselves without their partner, and whether or not their family will have a safe place to rest when the dust settles.

Protective Orders

The use of protective orders are critical anytime you feel you or your family are unsafe due to violence in the home. You can request a protective order from the courts and you should always keep it with you. If your spouse violates the order at any time, it is imperative that you call the police right away. Make sure all of your family members, friends, and neighbors are aware that you have a protective order in place. Keeping them informed will ensure that they can assist you in providing additional sets of eyes and ears in the event that your partner violates the order. If the order is violated and you do call the police, it is also important to have a personal safety plan in place, should they not arrive right away. A personal safety plan can include a number of preparations, including the following:

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texas order of protection attorneySadly, although the winter season might be associated with New Year joy, for victims of domestic violence, the winter can be the most difficult part of the year. Domestic violence shelters report that they see more clients during the winter.

The long winter months, especially when combined with increased financial pressures or the loss of a job, can add extra stress to a situation where domestic violence is already an issue. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may be able to use a protective order as part of your overall safety plan. To learn more about your options, you should consult with a family law attorney.

You can get a protective order in Texas if you are a victim of family violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. The applicant for an order has to go to court to demonstrate that family violence has occurred and that more family violence is likely to occur in the future. This can be a scary prospect for a current victim of violence, which is why having a knowledge attorney at your disposal can make the process easier.

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