When family situations turn violent, a protective order may be necessary. Whether the violence is a result of a continuing abusive situation, or from particularly volatile divorce proceedings, a family law firm or divorce attorney can help clients deal with such circumstances and get necessary protection until the situation causing the violence can be resolved. The assistance of a family law or divorce lawyer is an important part of the legal process to resolve these and other family law situations. If a person needs a protective order, they should seek the help of an experienced family law or divorce attorney to file the appropriate court papers and get the protection that is needed for their safety.

What is A Protective Order?

Any lawyer who deals with family law or divorce issues can advise their client about protective orders, which are issued by a Texas court to protect the party filing the papers from future violence. These orders are issued when one member of a family or household has harmed, or intends to harm, another member of their family in any way. Family (in terms of a protective order) in Texas is considered to be blood relatives, spouses, and former spouses; children or foster children of parents or foster parents; and all members (or former members) of the same household – whether or not they are related. Protective orders limit the family member displaying violence from direct contact with the family member(s) who has filed the request for a protective order.

Who Can Get A Protective Order?

Anyone involved in divorce and child custody proceedings may request a protective order if they have been victims of family violence in the past, or if it is a possibility they may become victims in the future. The request can be filed by an adult member of the household where the victim lives, an adult who is protecting a child, a district attorney, or by the Department of Human and Regulatory Services.

How Does A Protective Order Help?

The purpose of a protective order is to inform the person displaying the violence that they must stay away. If they violate the order, they can be arrested. Local law enforcement officials keep a record of all protective orders on file. If police are called about a violation, they will seek to arrest the offender. A person who is arrested may face fines and jail time, depending on whether the violation occurred in the presence of police or if they were arrested at a later time. Additionally, if family violence occurs and the offender is arrested at the scene, emergency protective orders may be issued to take effect immediately.

How Do You Get a Protective Order?

A Texas resident who has been a victim of family violence, or is threatened with family violence, can obtain a protective court order by requesting one at the local district or county attorney’s office.  Evidence that such an order is necessary must be provided, such as medical records or other proof of violence. Although this can be done with or without the assistance of a lawyer, an attorney who regularly handles such issues can offer advice as to whether such a filing is recommended. A request for protection must be filed in the county where the applicant or the offender lives. If filed during divorce proceedings, it must be filed in the same family law court hearing the divorce case. The process normally takes about two weeks for the request to be acknowledged and the court order issued. Other than any associated legal fees, there is no charge for obtaining a protective order.

Anyone who has been a victim of family violence in Texas, or has been threatened with violence by a family member, should discuss the circumstances with a family law or divorce lawyer, who can suggest the best way to proceed when seeking a resolution of family disputes. If violence occurs while divorce proceedings are underway, a divorce attorney may suggest asking the court for a protective order. Law firms that deal with family law issues can help a client get the protection they need, while continuing to work with them to reach a resolution regarding family violence issues!

Garza & Elizondo, LLP

Downtown Brownsville
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
(979) 202-0067

North Brownsville
1393 East Alton Gloor Blvd, Suite 12
Brownsville TX 78526
(979) 202-0067

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