What is a Protective Order?
A protective order in Texas is an order that is issued by a judge to prevent continuing acts of family violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking. In Texas a protective order can be civil or criminal.
There are different types of protective orders but we will focus on those most commonly seen in family courts.
In instances of family violence, an Applicant can file a Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order and an Application for Protective Order. The Temporary Ex-Parte order is granted almost immediately with a pending court date and is effective for 14 days. If granted, a protective lasts for 2 years and in some instances can last up to 4 years.
Who can File?
- A prosecuting attorney
- An adult household or family member
- A person in a dating relationship
- The Department of Human and Regulatory Services
- An adult seeking to protect child against violent acts
What Evidence Do I Need to Show?
The applicant who is being abused or is protecting a child may not be able to show physical acts of past violence. To get a final protective order it is important to show supporting evidence that your claim of violence has happened and is likely to happen in the future. Example:
- Pictures of damage to property
- Police Reports or medical reports
- Videos or text messages documenting abuse
- Witnesses who have witnessed past incidents of abuse
- Showing a pattern of past/prior abusive history