The Texas Family Code allows a court to issue a protective order in cases where it finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur again in the future. “Family violence” covers not only acts of assault resulting in bodily injury, but also threats of assault or physical harm that a reasonable person would take seriously.
If you have questions about obtaining a protective order, defending an application for a protective order, or appealing the terms of a protective order, contact me at the Law Offices of Douglas C. Smith in El Paso.
As an experienced West Texas family law attorney, I am thoroughly familiar with protective orders, restraining orders, and the enforcement of these instruments both through the court’s contempt power and through criminal prosecution. Violation of the terms of a Family Court protective order, even through disobeying orders to maintain certain distances or avoid telephone contact, is a criminal offense and is punishable by jail time.
An application for a Family Court protective order is a very serious step in a divorce case. If you are found to have committed family violence during your divorce case, you cannot appeal the order until after the divorce is final. If you find yourself accused of family violence, it is therefore essential that you present the most effective defense possible in order to avoid the complication of a protective order against you while the divorce is pending.
An application for a protective order can also be made on an ex parte basis, meaning that the court can issue a temporary protective order without any notice to the person accused. A temporary protective order can issue upon the court’s finding that a “clear and present danger” of family violence exists, and it can remain in effect for up to 20 days. After the order is issued and served, the party restrained by the protective order can apply to the court to have it vacated or modified.