Desk in a Texas court room where emergency motions in family court are heard

3 Emergency Motions in Family Court You Should Know About

Every family dispute is unique. Sometimes, the matter cannot wait weeks or months to be scheduled on a busy court docket. Fortunately, in Texas, you can file emergency motions in family court to expedite the legal process.

If your family dispute has quickly escalated to something that needs to be addressed by a court of law, then consider the various types of emergency motions in family court that you can file, which I have outlined below.

I also encourage you to work with me right away to help file the emergency motion. You want to make sure that you do not overlook key steps in the process when you are in a hurry to have your motion heard by the court.

Emergency Motions Available in Texas Family Court

Consider three of the most prevalent types of emergency motions that are heard in Texas family court:

  • Emergency hearings for child custody matters
  • Temporary orders during a divorce
  • Restraining order on the path to a protective order

1. Child Custody Emergency Motions

If you believe that your child is in immediate danger or harm under the care of your ex-spouse or another individual with possession of your child, then you can file an emergency suit concerning child custody. You will need to present strong and compelling evidence supporting your argument.

In this event, the Texas Family Code allows for a court to issue a temporary order designed to protect the safety and welfare of the child. The court also has the ability to modify a prior temporary order if this is a repeat occurrence. The court can issue a temporary order with the following orders:

  • Temporary conservatorship of the child
  • Temporary support of the child
  • Restraining a party from “disturbing the peace” of your child
  • Prohibiting a person from removing your child outside of a region identified by the court (e.g., disallowing another party from taking your child out of state beyond Texas)

After issuing a temporary order, the court’s next step will be a final order hearing, where arguments will be heard from both sides, and additional evidence will be weighed. The court will then issue a final order or modify an existing order regarding the custody of your child.

2. Temporary Orders During a Divorce

Not every divorce is amicable. Unfortunately, divorces can often become contentious and ugly, especially if there are children through the marriage, because arguments can escalate over parental rights issues. Another common trigger is a dispute over property or other assets.

If you are concerned about your personal well-being, the immediate well-being of your children, or potential damage to property during a divorce, you can request an emergency hearing to petition the court to restrict the other party’s actions.

The Texas Family Code allows for you to file a motion for the court to grant a temporary restraining order “for the preservation of property and for the protection of the parties as necessary.”

During the hearing, you can file a motion for the court to grant a temporary order against your separated spouse that will prohibit them from performing specific actions. The Texas Family Code recognizes 26 prohibitive actions. Some of the primary prohibited actions include:

  • Communicating with you in a harmful or threatening manner
  • Making threats against the children
  • Causing bodily injury against you or the children
  • Damaging property, attempting to sell property, or attempting to steal common property
  • Performing other actions that could materially alter the value of property or assets

If the court grants your motion, you will receive the necessary protections as you navigate the divorce process.

3. Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

If you believe that you or your children are in immediate danger from a family member or other person that poses a threat to your well-being, you can request a restraining order against this individual. This will set you on the path to obtaining a protective order.

What’s known as a temporary restraining order (TRO) will provide you with emergency relief and necessary protections until a formal hearing can be held. A TRO typically only lasts 14 days, allowing for enough time to provide immediate protection while also leading to a formal court hearing.

The court will weigh the evidence against your accuser during the hearing and determine whether to grant a protective order. In Texas, there are three types of protective orders that can be issued:

– Temporary ex-parte protective order: this is valid for a specified period in the order but not to exceed 20 days. This order is meant to provide you with protections during an interim period after you have applied for a final protective order but before the next court hearing.

– Final or permanent protective order: this is valid for a specified period of up to 2 years. If you request a permanent protective order, the offender will be afforded the opportunity to argue their case during a court hearing.

– Magistrate’s order of emergency protection: this advances the situation from a family law dispute to a criminal proceeding. An emergency protective order is based on the offender being arrested for an offense such as assault, sexual abuse, or other harmful activity.

Contact a Family Law Expert to Help File an Emergency Motion

If you are currently in an emergency situation that involves danger to yourself or a child, I can help you navigate the legal process. Through my support, I will ensure that you receive every protection that is afforded to you while also helping you follow every step in the process.

I currently help clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County with emergency family law situations in Texas. To get started on filing an emergency motion in family court, contact me right away.

Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your situation. I am here to help!