Domestic Violence Attorneys, Houston TX

Domestic violence is quite common and it can have a significant impact on family law cases, from child custody issues to spousal support. Children who witness domestic violence are oftentimes profoundly affected and may need counseling or the assistance of mental health experts. 

Note: The Texas Family Violence Resource Center can help you locate nearby programs or shelters for help. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

What is family violence?

According to section 71.002 of the Texas Family Code, family violence is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or house that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault; or it can be a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. It is also defined as abuse by a member of a family or household toward any child of the family or household. The statute is understandably broader when it comes to the protection of a child. Dating violence is considered to be a kind of family violence, where someone commits an act of violence against another person when they have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. Anyone who is a victim of family violence or dating violence is entitled to ask the court for a protective order.

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders

If your family law matter involves a protective order, it is crucial to seek legal advice and find an experienced attorney who can be your advocate.

Texas courts will issue protective orders if they find that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. If there is evidence of a clear and present danger of family violence, then the court might enter what’s called a ‘temporary ex parte’ order. This is done without notice to the other party or other household members and issued without a full hearing. Temporary ex parte orders are valid only for up to 20 days. At this point, the order will expire unless the parties were able to have a hearing and the judge determined that a permanent protective order was necessary.

Being the subject of a protective order can have significant collateral consequences. It can impact careers, the ability to own or possess firearms, the ability to have custody or possession of your child, and even deportation if you are an immigrant. If you have been accused of family violence, it is crucial for you to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney who can present a strong defense.

How does Domestic Violence affect issues of Child Custody?

In Texas, the presumption is that joint managing conservatorship is in the best interest of the child. However, when there is evidence of family violence, the court may deviate from that mandate. Additionally, if there is evidence that a child was victim of family violence, the court may limit a parent’s access to the child.

Domestic Violence, Property Division and Spousal Support

Acts of cruelty are one of the grounds for divorce and if family violence is found, it can have a significant effect on the distribution of property and spousal maintenance. For example, if there has been family violence, then the party guilty of the acts could be liable for spousal support for a period of up to 5 years, no matter the length of the marriage. It can also affect the manner in which property is divided, particularly if the court finds that one party is at fault in the breakdown of the marriage.

How We Can Help

Whether you are a victim of violence or have been accused of perpetrating it, our office stands ready to assist you throughout the process. We will ensure we prepare the best case to protect your interests and advise you of all possible options and outcomes.