When is a protective order necessary and how do I get one?

A protective order is a civil court order meant to prevent continuing acts of family violence from occurring. You can also get a protective order against sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking. According to Texas law, the act of family violence (known often as domestic abuse) is defined as 1) any act by one member of a family or household intended to physically harm another member, (2) a serious threat of physical harm, or (3) the abuse of a child.

What does a protective order do for the person who is getting abused?

A protective order is not a magic force shield but it does put restrictions on the abuser. In most divorce cases a restraining order is placed to prevent domestic abuse or stalking. Typical results that might come out are that the abuser must stay far away (a certain number of feet) from the abuser or they can no longer contact the victim. Divorce is stressful enough without fearing for one's safety. Main things a protective order may prohibit an offender from doing include:

  1. Committing further acts of family violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking
  2. Harassing or threatening the victim, either directly or indirectly by communicating the threat through another person
  3. Going to or near a school or day-care center of a child protected under the order attends

Who can you get a protective order against?

The terminology, "one member of a family" in the case of domestic abuse is broad. It includes blood relatives or relatives by marriage, former spouses, parents (married or not) of the same child, foster parents and foster children, or any member or former member of a household (people living in the same house, related or not).

What are some other reasons you might request a protective order in a divorce case?

There are other times a restraining order might be used in a divorce case, besides domestic abuse. One person may try to get an order to prohibit transfer or disposal of property in some situations, establish possession and visitation of a child, pay child or spousal support for a period not to exceed one year, attend mandatory counseling or vacate the residence or other specified property, if certain conditions are met.

How do I get a protective order?

You apply for a protective order and a court determines on a case-by-case basis if an order is warranted. If the court feels that any of the above-mentioned issues might happen again, they might issue one. Of course, a family law lawyer is important when it comes to getting a protective order and divorce. Do you think you might need a protective order?  Puhl Law Group, P.C. can help you. Contact our board certified lawyers to learn more about your options for safety and divorce.  

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