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Stopping Domestic Violence: A Survivor's Guide to Obtaining a Protective Order in Texas



If you are being choked, battered, or otherwise abused by an intimate partner or family member, the most important thing is to get to safety. Once you have escaped the violent situation, you may want to pursue legal protection by obtaining a protective order. This article walks through the process of getting a protective order in Texas.


1. Escape the abuse and get to a safe place, such as a domestic violence shelter, friend's house, or public location. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for help making a safety plan and finding local resources.


2. Consider whether to call the police to report the abuse, especially if there was physical violence. Having a police report can serve as useful evidence when seeking a protective order. However, you can still obtain a protective order without a police report.


3. To request a protective order, fill out an Application for Protective Order, available through the Texas Advocacy Project at www.texasadvocacyproject.org or from the district attorney or county attorney's office. Include any children who also need protection.


4. After submitting the application, contact the court to request a hearing date. Check the court's local rules (usually available on their website) for any specific filing procedures.


5. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case to the judge and provide evidence of the abuse, such as photos, medical records, police reports, damaged property, threatening messages, or witness testimony. Review the local rules for how to submit exhibits to the court - common methods include email, e-filing, or bringing on a USB drive.


6. If the abuser has committed certain crimes like assault, sexual assault, or stalking, you may qualify for a special Chapter 7B protective order which lasts longer. Discuss this with the county or district attorney.


7. If the judge grants the protective order, they will make a finding that family violence has occurred (formerly there was also a "and is likely to occur again in the future" requirement. This second requirement was removed). The order will prohibit the abuser from committing further acts of violence, harassing you, or going near your home, work, or the children's schools.


8. Make sure to obtain a signed copy of the protective order from the court clerk. The abuser must be formally "served" with the order by law enforcement or process server before it fully goes into effect. Provide copies of the order to your work, children's schools, and keep one with you at all times.


9. A protective order typically lasts up to 2 years. The abuser has 30 days to appeal the order after being served. If no appeal is filed, the order remains in place for the stated duration.


Remember, abuse is never your fault and you are not alone. In addition to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, here are some Texas resources that can help:

  1. Texas Advocacy Project: www.texasadvocacyproject.org

  2. Texas Council on Family Violence: www.tcfv.org

  3. Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid: www.trla.org

  4. County and District Attorney Offices: www.tdcaa.com/public/find-your-prosecutor/

  5. Below is a link to protective order kit I merged from various sources:

Protective Order
.pdf
Download PDF • 3.58MB

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(c) 2023 Christopher Meyer Law Firm, PLLC All Rights Reserved The information on this video is for general information, entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney client relationship Please call (281) 845-2472 if you have any questions about this disclaimer.

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