If you are the victim of family abuse or domestic violence, it can be challenging to know where to turn. I know that it can be difficult to go through the legal system for fear of your abuser being angered. But, you are not alone in this fight!
The state of Texas provides victims of abuse with certain legal protections. These protections can help safeguard you against future incidents involving your abuser.
If you were victimized by a recent incident, then you may want to know how to request an emergency restraining order in Texas. I will explain how this works so that you can start the process of requesting new protection for you and your family.
Requesting an Emergency Restraining Order in Texas
In Texas, restraining orders are legally known as protective orders. In the county where you live, you can request a protective order against your offender to start the legal process of receiving protection against the person who has hurt you, threatened you, or abused you.
When filing for a protective order, you will need to provide specific information to help the county clerk provide local law enforcement with the information they need to enforce a protective order. A sample of the information that will you need to provide includes the following:
- Your personal information
- Information about your offender
- Cautions about your offender (e.g., armed and dangerous, violent tendencies, alcoholic)
- Your relationship with the offender
- Any children that need to receive protection
- Other pertinent information related to your situation
If your situation is an emergency and you cannot wait for an initial court hearing to review your case, a judge may provide you with a temporary order that protects you until your court hearing. This order is called a Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order. It lasts 20 days but can be renewed for an additional 20 days if the court is unable to hear your case in a timely manner.
According to the Texas Family Law Code, a court can issue this form of temporary protection if there is a “clear and present danger of family violence.” Without further notice, the court can issue legal protection against the offender who is alleged to have committed violence.
You will want to work with an expert in family law to ensure that you receive this form of protection. Otherwise, you will have to wait for a court hearing to ask a judge for a protective order. In an emergency situation, you do not want to wait that long.
Additionally, it is a legal requirement for your offender to be served with papers before a court hearing. Your offender will receive a copy of your court filing for a protective order, and they will be required to appear in court. If you are concerned that this could escalate the situation, you will want to ensure that you obtain a Temporary Ex Parte Order to provide you with immediate protection before the hearing.
Follow Your Safety Plan During an Emergency Situation
During this process, you may become concerned about your personal safety or the safety of your children. This is why it’s important to have a safety plan that can help keep you and your children safe.
You should communicate this plan with your children and other third parties to provide you with a safe place to stay until your court hearing. Some safety plan tips include:
- Be prepared to leave immediately if you are in an emergency situation
- Use technology wisely to avoid your offender intercepting communication
- Know where you will go during an emergency situation
- Have phone numbers handy to call in specific situations (View this list of emergency numbers during a family violence situation)
Also, remember to always have a copy of your protective order with you. You should distribute this document to places where you frequent (e.g., your workplace) or places where your offender could try to approach you or your children (e.g., school).
Taking this step will provide you with an additional level of protection if you need to call the police to report that your abuser has violated the terms of the order. Then, law enforcement can review the order and take necessary action.
Then, once you have your hearing, the court will make a decision about potential punishment against your offender and formal protection granted to you. If the court rules in your favor, the protective order will become official and last up to two years. A court will issue a protective order that lasts longer than two years in extreme situations.
Find Expert Legal Support With a Protective Order
When faced with an emergency situation involving family violence or abuse, there are some very important steps to take:
- 1. Call the police
- 2. Find a safe place for you and your children
- 3. Work with a family law attorney to obtain legal protection
I can assist you with the legal process of filing for a protective order and working toward obtaining a Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order. This way, you will be afforded legal protection until the court can hear your case against your offender.
For over a decade, I have practiced family law exclusively so that I can provide expert support to Texas residents on family law issues. I currently advocate on behalf of victims just like you in Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Harris County.
Reach out to me today for legal help. Call my offices today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to talk about an emergency restraining order in Texas. I am here to help you!