How do you obtain a protective order under the Texas Family Code?

A request for a protective order can be made under the Texas Family Code by any family member, a member of a dating relationship, a third-party victim who is harmed or threatened because the victim is dating or married to a person whom the offending party used to date or be married to, a prosecuting attorney, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (aka CPS), or any adult for the protection of a child.  You can request a protective order for yourself or on behalf of another party.  A protective order is considered “ex parte” if it is obtained without notice to the other side.  An ex parte protective order is only temporary.

To obtain a protective order, the party seeking relief (the “applicant”) files an application for a protective order along with an affidavit.  The affidavit attached to the application must describe in sufficient detail the facts related to the alleged family violence.  It must also explain why there is a need for immediate protection.  If the applicant and the respondent live in the same home, the application can include a request for a “kick-out” order.

In the application, the applicant can request an order prohibiting a variety of actions, including family violence, certain communications, going near a residence, place of employment or the child’s school, going near the applicant, or possessing a firearm or ammunition.  A protective order can even be used to protect pets.

In order to grant the temporary ex parte protective order, the judge must find the affidavit shows a “clear and present danger” of family violence.  If the facts are sufficient, the judge will sign a temporary protective order “ex parte” and set the matter for a hearing.

If the judge signs a temporary ex parte protective order, the order must include a notice to the respondent to appear on a specified date for a hearing on whether or not the temporary order should be made into a final protective order.  The court must set the issue for hearing no more than 14 days after the application is filed.  An ex parte protective order can last no more than 20 days, unless an extension is granted.  An applicant cannot be charged a fee for filing an application for a protective order.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please seek help whether it is through an attorney, a shelter, a domestic violence hotline, or any of the other numerous resources available to help domestic violence victims.



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