Temporary Restraining Orders and Orders of Protection
Domestic violence, referred to as Family Violence in the Texas Family Code, is a problem throughout the United States. In Texas, approximately 35% of women and over 35% of men experience physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Of course, domestic violence in Texas can also include abuse by present and former romantic partners, household members, and family members, including parents and children, among others. And domestic violence can consist of not only assault, but also acts that place the victim in fear of imminent harm. There are additional acts that may be considered domestic violence, a key factor being that you need not suffer an observable injury to be a family violence victim.
One issue we would like to address is whether there are so-called “red flags” that might be an indication that an individual may be prone to committing a domestic violence offense.
Red Flags of Domestic Violence Abuse
According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, there are certain behaviors that are often red flags, or warning signs, that a person may be abusive. They include, among others:
- Indicating a desire to rush into the relationship.
- Wanting you all to himself/herself.
- Showing excessive jealousy/accusing you of infidelity.
- Wanting to know where you are at all times.
- Failing to take responsibility for his/her actions.
- Blaming previous relationship failures totally on the other person.
These are just several examples. The issue, of course, is control by the abuser, and these and other behaviors are designed to gain that control.
How Can I Obtain an Order of Protection/Temporary ex parte Order?
If you believe you have been the victim of family violence, there are remedies available to you. They include a temporary ex parte order. This is an order designed to protect you and your loved ones from abuse immediately. You may apply for a temporary order of protection (sometimes referred to as a temporary restraining order) ex parte, meaning that you may ask the court for relief without notifying the abuser. When you make such an application, you must go to the court where your divorce is pending or, if no divorce is pending, to the court in the county in which you reside, to file the forms. And you must convince the judge that there is a clear and present danger that the abuser is danger to you or to another family member. If the order is granted, the defendant will be served with the papers, and a hearing (usually within 20 day) will be scheduled to determine whether the order should become a final Protective Order. If it is finalized, it will most often remain in effect for two years.
Many county courts have a Protective Order Kit available to guide unrepresented individuals through the process of obtaining a restraining order or a protective order.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family Against Domestic Violence
We have provided some simplified explanations for a few of the issues regarding family violence in Texas. However, if you have any questions or concerns, particularly about ongoing family violence in the greater Houston area, contact an experienced family law attorney at 713-225-0097.