A protective order is a court order that seeks to protect you from a person who has been violent or threatened to be violent towards you. In Texas, violence can include sexual assault. These sorts of orders are designed to be able to help you protect yourself and those around you. The most basic way of protective order seeks to help you is that they are designed to prevent the other person from hurting you or threatening to hurt you. This is done through the order barring the person to contact you, go near you or your children, family members, or other relatives. Additionally, your work and your children’s school are also places where your abuser cannot go.
Importantly, it also restricts this person’s ability to carry a gun. If he or she has a license to carry a weapon that license will be revoked. The punishment, if caught, 4 doing any of these things is to have law enforcement arrest them. So far, I would think that if you are in a position where you are in they said of concern over your well-being that a protective order is something you would be interested in obtaining. What I would like to go over with you now is the requirements in Texas for obtaining a protective order. This way you can know in advance what you need to do to position yourself to obtain one of these types of orders.
How can you get a protective order?
You can obtain a protective order if someone that you know has hurt you, threatened to hurt you and you are afraid the person might be interested in hurting you again. Additionally, either you, your spouse, or your significant other has a close relationship with the person who has hurt you. In this case, a close relationship means that the abuser is someone that you are married to, is a close relative, or is someone that you are having a child with or are dating and living in the same residence as.
Additionally, you can also get a protective order if you have had a protective order against this person previously and the other person has violated parts of that protective order that were designed to protect you. If you have been sexually assaulted or stalked even if you don’t have a close relationship with the abuser you can still request a protective order. Doing so, in any case, is free of charge and will cost you nothing.
There is an affidavit included in an application for a protective order. The affidavit is a good option to choose if you do not want your date of birth and address to be made part of the public record. Bear in mind that the affidavit must be signed in front of a notary. This means that you cannot fill out the affidavit at all until you get in front of that notary. Do not sign the affidavit or fill any part of it out until the notary can witness you doing so.
On the other hand, a declaration can also be utilized to complete your application for a protective order. The declaration can be filled out instead of the affidavit if you want your date of birth and address to be part of the public record. You would not have to sign the declaration in front of a notary as it is not a statement under oath.
Where do you need to go to file the forms?
As you can tell, I am listing this information as if you will not have the assistance of an attorney to fill out the application. In some circumstances, you frankly may not have time or the resources available to you to hire a lawyer on this subject. If you have already hired an attorney to represent you in a divorce and child custody case that lawyer may also be able or willing to assist you in completing an application for a protective order. However, I think it is important for you to know the basics of how do you complete this application should you not want to, be able to, or have time to hire a family law attorney.
Once you have filled out the application form for your protective order then you should take the forms with multiple copies to the courthouse for your county. If you are reading this in Houston then you would need to go downtown to the courthouse on Caroline street. In the alternative, if your abuser lives in another county you may choose to file it in that county. As I mentioned earlier if the abuser is also someone that you have a pending divorce or child custody case with then you should follow forms in the same county where you live and where your case is being heard. This will make it easier for your divorce or child custody court to interact with this protective order application.
If the other person and you live in the same residence or have children together then a judge can make orders about who gets to access the family home or even be able to come into contact or possession with your children. The same goes for vehicles. Part of the protective order will likely be ordering barring your abuser from being able to prevent you from accessing your vehicle or otherwise utilize the vehicle to transport your children or get you two and from your place of employment. Additionally, even if you don’t have a divorce or child custody case pending simultaneously with your application for a protective order a family court judge should be able to issue additional orders regarding child support, child custody, and things of this nature.
How quickly can the protective order go into effect?
Time is of the essence when you are talking about a protective order. Even under the best of circumstances, in protective order may not be enough to dissuade the potential abuser from harming you or your family. I don’t say this to be pessimistic I’m just stating something that is the truth. Time is oftentimes of the essence when it comes to a protective order. So, you need to be prepared to understand how quickly your protective order can be obtained.
The first step in the process may be for a judge to assign a temporary ex parte protective order. This is a legal term to refer to a protective order that will last for a short period and will be ordered without an open hearing that your abuser could attend. This will be done as a placeholder until another hearing can be held where your abuser can submit evidence of their own and argue as to why and protective orders should not be issued against him or her.
An important aspect of this discussion is that a protective order must be signed by a judge. Merely having filed an application for a protective order, obtained some other document from the court, or even having an ex parte hearing set before the judge does not equal an actual protective order. Rather, you must be prepared to obtain an actual order signed by a judge to have any kind of legal protection in this regard. This typically requires some testimony on your behalf. For example, if you want your significant other to leave the house immediately then be prepared to ask for that in your application and testify to it before the judge.
What are the requirements for you to attend court? For many people attending court in any regard can be a nerve-wracking experience. A courtroom is an unfamiliar place for most of us and it can be even more uncomfortable than have to go to court to testify against someone with whom you have a closed relationship. Be that as it may, it is a requirement for you to attend a courtroom hearing at least once to obtain a protective order. This is true even if you receive a temporary ex parte protective order. This can be achieved without going to court.
However, to receive another protective order you must attend court in person. This hearing would occur approximately 2 weeks later. bear in mind that these two week. Can be important for you to use to obtain your attorney and to prepare a case. You can imagine that your opposing party will utilize the time to obtain their counsel and prepare the case of their own. A temporary protective order or even a permanent protective order will be a higher burden to achieve as opposed to a temporary ex parte protective order. You will need to be well organized and have a case prepared. Simply assuming that a judge will see bruising or hear a sad story and then automatically approved your application and grant you the protective order you seek is not a good plan.
Going to court can be nerve-wracking but how would it takes to be a success within the courtroom. The most important thing for you to keep in mind is that there is proper decorum and a specific way to act in the courtroom. Not using coarse language, always telling the truth, and treating those around you with respect are of the utmost importance. This extends even to the person against whom you are seeking the protective order. A judge will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or foul language towards this person. Even if he or she has treated you quite badly that is no excuse for acting aggressively or inappropriately towards him or her while in court. You are just as liable to have some sort of order issued against you for having done so.
How do you inform the other person about the protective order?
This is a logical question to ask. If you file a court case then there is nothing necessarily in place to tell you’re significant other, spouse more another person that you know that a case has been filed against him or her. Therefore, you need to have this person served before any court hearing. Again, you can typically obtain a temporary ex parte protective order without having to provide him or her with notice. However, these orders are shorter in duration and you would need to be able to have the other person served with notice of the protective order application before a longer-lasting order can be set into effect.
Bear in mind that you are not the person who would be serving notice to your opposing party. Rather, a sheriff’s deputy, constable, or professional process server would be the person to fulfill this duty. The other professionals that I listed are trained in providing notice and serving people in these circumstances. For that reason, you should not attempt to do so yourself. Not only would doing so be potentially dangerous for you and the other person but he would not be able to obtain credit for serving him or her this way. Rather, service must come from another person.
of your application protective order along with notification of any hearing date will be served upon this person. An important thing to take note of at this stage is that when the other person receives your application for a protective order a copy of your affidavit or declaration will also be included. The protective order, once approved after a hearing, will typically last for up to two years. To obtain a protective order that lasts longer than two years he should contact an attorney first period there are limited circumstances in which productive order that lasts longer than two years can be obtained.
Going to court without an attorney? Read this first
as I mentioned a moment ago, one of the main reasons why some people are hesitant to try to obtain a protective order in the first place is the inability to hire an attorney. You may simply lack the desire or the resources necessary to hire a lawyer. In that case, you should know that the requirements to obtain the protective order are still the same. This includes the need to attend court at least once. However, you should not worry yourself out of going to court and obtaining this order. Rather, I would like to share with you some information on getting ready to go to court yourself. Even if you do have an attorney this information can be helpful from a perspective of getting a preview for what you will encounter with your attorney.
The first thing I will mention is that a temporary expert protective order hearing is the first step in the process of obtaining a more permanent protective order. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to make sure that you attend this hearing. Above all else, you need to understand the date, time, location, and other details of the hearing. Just because you were in a bad position, scared, or have any other excuse does not mean that a court will go easy on you as far as his requirements. If you were to miss your first hearing then you may have your application tossed out of court and have to start all over from the beginning.
Here is how you get ready for a protective order hearing. First, you need to fill out a protective order application before we go to court and should bring the documents with you. Oftentimes the clerk of the court or at least the hearings coordinator will be in the hearing room with you or the office next door. That person can assist you with the filing of the document and answer basic questions period Please note, that the writers of these persons can provide you with legal advice. if you feel uncertain about the documents you were filing or need specific advice or an answer to a question you should consider consulting with an attorney.
In addition to your protective order, affidavit, declaration, and other paperwork associated with your protective order, you should bring with you any evidence that you would like to submit and enter into the record. Medical records, turn clothing, photographs, or even witnesses who are aware of the type of violence that has been perpetrated against you. The judge may request that these witnesses testify in this hearing. Another useful document to bring with you to court would be any past protective orders that you had issued against this person or another individual. Finally, paycheck stubs, bank account information, tax returns, or even utility bills are useful to be able to help the judge verify the other person’s income and expenses.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or a child custody case.