A Protective Order is a court order issued to prevent acts or threats of violence between family members. This would include the prevention of child abuse.
Research findings released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that in 2001, according to Child Protective Services (CPS), 903,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect.
A recent overview of CPS cases in two U.S. states identified that 41 to 43 percent of domestic violence cases end up severely injuring or even causing the death of a child. (Source: Childwelfare).
Types of Protective Orders
A Texas Protective Order restricts the offender from:
- Committing any further acts of violence;
- Directly or indirectly threatening or harassing the victim;
- Approaching the school or the day-care center where the protected child goes.
For extreme situations, in which the risk of having domestic violence victims is very high, someone can ask for a Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order, which doesn’t require a court hearing and becomes legally effective within 20 days. This order is meant to keep potential victims safe until the court hearing.
Another type of protective order is The Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection, which becomes effective for 31 up to 61 days if someone gets arrested for committing domestic violence crimes. This is a temporary order meant to keep the abuser away from his potential victims until a final order is issues.
Protective Orders and Restraining Orders
Although a protective order is sometimes called a “restraining order,” under Texas Family Law, there are some differences between the two terms.
A Restraining Order regulates the conduct of two spouses involved in a divorce by prohibiting either party from:
- Creating more debt;
- Emptying the bank accounts;
- Using inappropriate language when referring to the other spouse, especially in the presence of the children.
Restraining Order Paperwork in Texas
If you are seeking to obtain a restraining order in Texas, you need to submit the following paperwork (you can get the documents from any Texas court or you can download them):
- A Temporary Ex Parte Retraining Order;
- Application for Protective Order;
- A Protective Order and the Respondent Information.
Once you fill out the forms, file them at any court within your region. In case you’re in the middle of a divorce, it’s suitable to file them at the same court. If there is an immediate danger, don’t forget to mention this when submitting the paperwork. A hearing will be scheduled during which it’s advisable to bring all the proof you’ve gathered.
At any point during the process, even when you’re filling out the forms, if you feel insecure and you need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact a knowledgeable family law attorney. The Dieye Firm is ready to guide you through the legal hassle and help you make the right decisions.
In some cases, protective orders can also indicate additional orders which:
- Determine child visitation and possession rights;
- Forbid transfer of property;
- Award spousal or child support for less than one year;
- Require the offender to attend a compulsory counselling program;
- Require the offender to vacate residential premises or other specific property, only if clear criteria are met.
The violation of such additional orders is not criminally enforceable, meaning that:
- The offender doesn’t get arrested immediately;
- He might face the civil court, if found guilty of contempt the judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or jail time.
Applying for a Protective Order in Texas
If you or someone you know has become a victim of family violence, you should apply for a protective order as soon as possible, in order to prevent any further domestic abuses.
A protective order can be filed by:
- An adult household or family member;
- Any adult seeking to protect a child against violent acts;
- A prosecuting attorney, or
- The Department of Human and Regulatory Services.
The term “applicant” is used for the supposed victim of family violence.
The information you need to provide includes:
- The relationship between the abuser and the victim;
- Offender’s full name, address, and country of residence;
- Victim’s name and country of residence;
- The request for one (or more) protective orders.
In general, protective orders are issued for two years, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t extreme cases in which they can last longer than this.
How to prepare before applying
When applying for a protective order, be ready to:
- Show evidence that incriminates the abuser;
- Have the victim prepared to confirm the abuse;
- Prove an existing history of domestic violence acts carried out by the offender;
- Have witnesses who will testify and support your cause;
- Show copies of medical records which back up your statements;
- Bring photographs of injuries or damage.
The Dieye Firm is ready to support you
If you fear for your safety, or the safety of your children, don’t wait any longer. Contact the Dieye Firm. We’ve legally guided as well as offered comprehensive advice and representation to numerous clients based in Houston, Brazoria County, Galveston, Fort Bend, or Harris. Whenever you seek a Texas family law attorney, call us, and schedule a consultation.
Don’t allow the time-consuming paperwork to discourage you and put your children’s safety first. Protective orders prevent further acts of domestic violence. We’re ready to support you. The offender will be kept away from your household only if you act fast and apply for a protective order.