If you are facing domestic violence during a divorce, you can get help in Texas by obtaining a protective order. A protective order is a court order that can require your abuser to stay away from you, your children, and other family members. It can also order them to stop contacting you, harassing you, or threatening you.
To get a protective order in Texas, you need to file a petition with the court. The petition should describe the abuse that you have suffered and ask the court to order your abuser to stop. You can file a petition for a protective order even if you are not married to your abuser.
Once you have filed a petition, the court will hold a hearing to decide whether to grant a protective order. At the hearing, you will have a chance to tell the judge about the abuse that you have suffered. The judge will also listen to your abuser’s side of the story.
If the judge grants a protective order, it will be enforceable by the police. If your abuser violates the protective order, they can be arrested and charged with a crime.
If you are facing domestic violence during a divorce, it is important to get help immediately. A protective order can help to keep you and your family safe. You can contact a Tarrant County divorce attorney to help you get a protective order.
Here are some additional tips for getting a protective order in Texas:
- Gather evidence of the abuse. This could include police reports, medical records, photos, and witness statements.
- Be honest and open with the judge about the abuse that you have suffered.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship with your abuser.
- Have a plan for how you will stay safe if you are granted a protective order.
Getting a protective order can be a scary and difficult process, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are people who can help you get the protection you need.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy also represent people who are dealing with false accusations of domestic violence or family violence. We have the ability to represent individuals on both sides of the aisle in these cases.
Restraining Orders vs. Protective Orders
In Texas, a restraining order is a civil court order that restricts one party’s actions, such as preventing them from withdrawing money from a joint bank account or taking the children out of state. Restraining orders are typically temporary and last no longer than 14 days.
A protective order, on the other hand, is a criminal court order that protects a victim from an abuser. Protective orders can be issued in cases of domestic violence, stalking, and other criminal offenses. Protective orders can be temporary or permanent, and they can include a variety of restrictions, such as:
- Requiring the abuser to stay away from the victim
- Prohibiting the abuser from contacting the victim
- Preventing the abuser from owning or possessing a gun
If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of your children, you may want to consider seeking a restraining order or protective order.
- Restraining orders can be useful in civil disputes, such as divorce cases. For example, if you are concerned that your spouse may empty your bank accounts or take the children out of state, you may want to seek a restraining order.
- Protective orders can be used in criminal cases to protect victims from abusers. For example, if you have been the victim of domestic violence, you may want to seek a protective order against your abuser.
To obtain a restraining order or protective order, you must file a petition with the court. The petition must describe the reason why you are seeking the order and the specific restrictions that you want the court to impose.
Once you have filed the petition, the court will hold a hearing to decide whether to grant the order. At the hearing, you will have a chance to tell the judge about your situation and why you need the order. The other party will also have a chance to present their side of the story.
If the judge grants the order, it will be enforceable by the police. If the other party violates the order, they can be arrested and charged with a crime.
If you are considering seeking a restraining order or protective order, it is important to talk to an attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and they can help you file the petition and prepare for the hearing.
Types of Protective Orders
In Texas, protective orders are available to victims of family violence. Family violence is defined as any act committed by one family member against another that is intended to cause physical harm, bodily injury, assault, sexual assault, or a threat that reasonably places a family or household member in fear of these offenses.
A protective order can require the abuser to:
- Stop all forms of communication with the victim, directly or through a third party.
- Stop committing acts of family violence and any other acts that are reasonably likely to annoy, alarm, abuse, or torment the victim.
- Stay away from the victim’s home and place of employment.
- Stay away from other places, such as the school or daycare of a child protected by the order.
- Not harm or threaten the victim’s pets.
If the judge finds that the abuser has committed an act of family violence, they can also suspend the abuser’s license to carry a firearm.
There are three types of protective orders in Texas:
- Temporary ex parte protective order: This type of order can be granted without notice to the abuser. It is usually valid for 14 days, but it can be extended for up to 60 days.
- Final protective order: This type of order is granted after a hearing at which both the victim and the abuser have a chance to present their case. Final protective orders can be valid for up to two years.
- Magistrate’s order of emergency protection: This type of order is similar to a temporary ex parte protective order, but it can only be granted in certain situations, such as when the victim is in immediate danger.
Ex Parte Protective Orders
An ex parte protective order is a short-term protective order that can be granted without notice to the abuser. It lasts for 20 days, and it can be extended for another 20 days in certain circumstances.
To get an ex parte protective order, the victim or their attorney must file an application with the court. The application must describe the abuse that the victim has suffered and ask the court to order the abuser to stay away from the victim.
If the judge finds that there is a clear and present danger of family violence, the judge will grant the ex parte protective order. This means that the abuser will have to stay away from the victim, even if they live together.
To get a kick-out order as part of an ex parte protective order, the victim must also file a sworn affidavit describing the incidents and patterns of behavior that merit requiring the abuser to be kept out of the home. The victim must also appear in person and testify at a hearing to explain why the order should be issued without notice to the abuser.
Even if the victim does not own or lease the home, they can still get an ex parte protective order to keep the abuser out of the home. However, it is important to note that an ex parte protective order does not change the legal ownership of the property. This means that if the abuser owns the home, the ex parte order will prevent them from entering the home, but they will still own it.
At the hearing, the ex parte protective order can be converted into a final protective order. A final protective order can last for up to two years.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about ex parte protective orders:
- Ex parte protective orders are not meant to be a permanent solution. They are a temporary way to protect the victim from the abuser until a final protective order hearing can be held.
- Ex parte protective orders can be violated, and if they are, the abuser can be arrested and charged with a crime.
- If the victim and the abuser live together, the ex parte protective order may require the abuser to move out of the home.
- The victim may need to provide the court with proof of residence, such as a lease agreement or a utility bill, to show that they live in the home.
If you are experiencing family violence, please know that you are not alone. There are people who can help you get the protection you need.
Final Protective Orders
Final protective orders, also known as permanent protective orders, are long-term legal orders that protect victims of family violence from their abusers. They are granted by a judge after a hearing, and they can be filed in conjunction with or separately from an ex parte protective order, which is a temporary protective order that is granted without a hearing.
To file for a final protective order, the victim must submit an application to the court in the county where either the victim or the abuser lives. The application must include information about the abuse, such as the dates, times, and locations of the abuse, as well as the names of any witnesses.
At the hearing, the judge will review the evidence and decide whether to grant the final protective order. If the judge grants the order, it will typically include provisions that require the abuser to stay away from the victim, refrain from contacting the victim, and surrender any firearms.
Final protective orders can last for up to two years, and they can be renewed at the end of that period. If the abuser violates the order, they may be arrested and charged with a crime.
To grant a final protective order, the court will schedule a hearing at least 14 days after receiving the application. Unlike an ex parte order, both the victim and the abuser must be present at this hearing. If either party fails to appear, the judge may grant a default judgment in favor of the other party.
A final protective order can be issued for any duration, up to a maximum of two years. A judge can grant a protective order for longer than two years if certain criteria are met.
This includes cases where the abuser has caused serious bodily harm or if two or more protective orders have been issued against the same abuser, provided the judge finds that the abuser has either committed family violence and is likely to do so again, or has committed an act of family violence against the victim or a member of the victim’s household. The acts leading to the protective order can be considered felonies, even if the abuser hasn’t been charged or convicted for those acts.
If the abuser is incarcerated when the protective order is set to expire, the order may be extended based on their term of imprisonment. If the abuser is imprisoned for over five years, the order will expire one year after their release. If imprisoned for less than five years, it will expire two years after their release.
If the protective order lasts longer than a year, the abuser has the right to file a motion to discontinue it after one year has passed. The judge assesses whether there’s still a need for the order. If not, the order will be discontinued. If the order lasts more than two years, the abuser has a second chance to seek its discontinuation one year after the first motion was filed.
This legal framework aims to provide protection to victims of family violence and allows for adjustments based on the circumstances of both the victim and the abuser, ensuring safety while taking into account rehabilitation and changing circumstances.
Magistrate’s Orders For Emergency Protection
A magistrate’s order for emergency protection (MOEP), also known as an emergency protective order, is a court order issued after an abuser is arrested for family violence, stalking, indecent assault, sexual abuse, or sexual assault.
The length of an MOEP depends on the nature of the abuser’s offense. In most cases, an MOEP lasts for 31 to 61 days. However, if the abuser committed family violence that resulted in serious bodily injury or involved the display or use of a deadly weapon, the MOEP will last for 61 to 91 days.
A unique feature of MOEPs is that they can be filed by the court or government officials on their own initiative. For example, if an abuser committed family violence that resulted in serious bodily injury or involved the display or use of a deadly weapon, the court must issue a 61-to-91-day MOEP. Similarly, a 31-to-61-day MOEP may be issued after an abuser is arrested for family violence at the request of a police officer, state attorney, or judge. This means that the victim may not need to appear in court or at a hearing to get an MOEP.
In summary, an MOEP is a court order that protects victims of abuse from their abusers. MOEPs can be issued quickly and without the victim having to go to court. If you are a victim of abuse, you should contact your local police department or courthouse to learn more about MOEPs and how to get one.
Filing for Protective Orders
To file for a protective order in Texas, you will need to provide the following information to the court:
- The names and addresses of the victims
- The names and addresses of the abusers
- The relationship between the victims and the abusers
There is no fee to file for a protective order. The state of Texas believes that your safety is paramount.
Once you file a petition, the court will schedule a hearing within two weeks. However, if there is a clear and present danger, the court may issue an ex parte order, which is effective immediately.
If someone violates a protective order, you should call the police. Violating a protective order is a crime that can result in fines and jail time. If the person who violated the order committed violence, there is additional punishment.
If you, a family member, or a child you know has been a victim of family violence, you may want to file for a protective order. A protective order can help protect you and your family from abuse.
Here are some additional tips for filing for a protective order:
- Be prepared to provide the court with evidence of the abuse. This could include police reports, medical records, or witness statements.
- Be prepared to discuss the specific terms of the protective order that you want. For example, you may want the order to prohibit the abuser from contacting you or coming near you.
- If you have children, you may want to ask the court for a temporary custody order. This will give you custody of your children while the protective order is in place.
If you need help filing for a protective order, you can contact a local legal aid organization or a family law attorney.
Consequences of Violating Protective Orders
If you violate a protective order, you will be arrested. The judge will then hold a hearing to determine if you violated the order with the intent to commit more family violence. If the judge finds this to be the case, you can be held in jail until trial without bail.
At the bail hearing, the judge will decide if there is a preponderance of evidence to support the claim that you violated the protective order with the intent to commit further family violence or stalking. If so, the judge can order you to be held until trial without bail.
A conviction for violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in a county jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. However, if you have two or more previous convictions, violating a protective order becomes a third-degree felony. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Even if you are convicted of a first offense, you can expect to receive some jail time, especially if you have a prior criminal record. If you receive probation, the judge may require you to complete counseling and substance abuse treatment.
The protective order will likely remain in place, even if you are convicted of a misdemeanor. This means that you may not be allowed to return to your home, own a gun, or contact the victim. You may also be required to pay the victim’s attorney and counseling fees.
Violating a protective order is a serious crime with serious consequences. If you have been served with a protective order, it is important to follow all of its terms. If you have any questions about the protective order, you should consult with an attorney.
Protection Orders Attorney in Tarrant County, TX
Anybody who needs assistance obtaining a protective order or help fighting one should make sure that they retain legal counsel. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represent clients on both sides of the aisle in these cases, and we have the experience you need to deal with all of the surrounding issues in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, Southlake, and other cities in Tarrant County, TX.
Feel free to call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation so we can help you explore all of your legal options. Protective orders can make an enormous difference in the entire status of your divorce case, and our firm will be committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.