Some divorces last several months or even a year and include emotional disputes. In these situations, you may need to request a restraining order against your spouse before the legal divorce process is finalized to help protect your interests in the divorce.
A Texas court can grant you a restraining order as long as you satisfy the requirements. Here is a closer look at valid grounds for restraining order requests in Texas.
What Is a Restraining Order in Texas?
A restraining order is a legal order from the court that prohibits or restrains someone from taking some action. Aside from any civil or criminal penalties that a violation might carry, the court can also punish restraining order violators with its contempt powers. Being found in contempt of court could therefore result in jail time, fines, and other penalties.
But you must file for and obtain a restraining order before a violation is determined. And before you consider filing a restraining order, you must be prepared to show the court why the order should be granted.
Five Grounds for Restraining Order Requests in Texas
There are at least five valid grounds for restraining orders to be granted in family law cases. We will cover five of the most prominent examples.
1. Alienating a Child by Disparaging You
Upset that you filed for divorce or are seeking full custody of the children, your spouse may respond by speaking poorly about you in front of the children.
Whether such conversations are directed at your child or just spoken within earshot of your child, these conversations can serve to turn your child’s affections against you. This can harm your relationship with your child and lead to co-parenting challenges.
You can request a restraining order to prevent your spouse from continuing to disparage you in front of the children.
2. Incurring Additional Marital Debt
Debt that either spouse incurs during the course of a marriage is considered marital debt. If one spouse racks up considerable debt after the divorce process begins, it could affect the court’s ability to divide up the parties’ marital assets and debts in a fair and equitable way.
This action by one spouse can unfairly saddle the other spouse with debt they did not incur. You can request a restraining order to prevent the other spouse from continuing to incur unreasonable debt.
3. Refusing to Vacate the Marital Home
It can be impractical for both spouses to live under the same roof while the divorce case is pending. If both spouses insist on remaining in the marital home, one may need to secure a restraining order against the other, directing the other spouse to move out of the home and not return to it without court approval.
If the other spouse needs to remove personal property from the home, the restraining order can even specify that this must be done when a law enforcement officer can be present.
4. Devaluing or Destroying Marital Property
If your spouse is not taking reasonable steps to preserve the value of marital property, this, too, could be grounds for restraining order approval.
An order of this nature could prohibit your spouse from depleting joint accounts that are used to pay the mortgage or require your spouse to make reasonable repairs to the marital home.
5. Taking Your Child Out of the State Without Your Permission
In Texas, both parents have a right to spend time with their children and develop relationships with them. However, you may have a legitimate fear that your spouse or another person may take your children from your living area and hide the children from you.
You can request a restraining order to prevent your spouse or a third party from taking the children outside of a geographic area where the person lives while the divorce is still ongoing.
How to Get a Restraining Order in Texas
In applying for any restraining order in Texas, you must present the court with facts showing one or more recognized grounds for the restraining order’s approval.
During a court hearing, the judge can grant a temporary restraining order ex parte — without the presence of the other party — in urgent situations. These short-term orders can last up to 20 days.
A more extended restraining order is issued after the court holds a hearing, receives evidence, and gives the other party an opportunity to be heard.
Do You Need to Obtain a Restraining Order?
Going through a divorce is difficult enough trying to dissolve a marriage. If you believe your spouse is complicating matters by taking specific actions against you, we can help you navigate legal issues related to a divorce in Texas.
We will listen to your situation, talk to you about valid grounds for restraining order requests in your case, and help you get started on the legal process.
One of our skilled family law attorneys will help you file a petition in your county, advocate on your behalf, and help you present evidence on the path to a positive outcome.
We currently support clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, reach out to our offices to discuss your divorce situation.
You can reach our offices at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with one of our helpful attorneys. Our experienced team can advise you on the best legal options for your restraining order case.