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Obtaining a protective order in Texas

There’s an old saying that love hurts. Love may hurt emotionally, but it should never entail physical violence. If your relationship has become violent, it may be necessary to take out a protective order against the person who once claimed to love you. In Texas, protective orders, also known as orders of protection or retraining orders, can be used to protect individuals from a domestic partner who may try to harm them.

Going through the bureaucracy of obtaining a protective order while also dealing with an abusive partner can feel overwhelming. The more you know about protective orders before applying for one, the easier the process will be. In this post, we’ll go over the basics of protective orders and how to obtain one in Texas.

What can a protective order do?

A protective order is a type of civil court order that victims can use to prevent acts of violence and harassment. Protective orders are frequently used to protect someone from acts of domestic violence or other forms of intimate partner abuse. A protective order can be used to prohibit acts such as:

  • Physical violence 
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Repeated, unwanted contact
  • Verbal or written threats
  • Visiting or communicating with a minor

There can be serious penalties for violating a protective order. Someone who violates an order can be arrested, charged with contempt of court and jailed for up to one year. He or she may also have to pay a fine of up to $4,000. If the perpetrator does violate the order, you should contact the police immediately.

How do I get a protective order?

If someone with whom you have a close relationship has harmed or threatened you and you are afraid that they may do it again, you are eligible for a protective order. First, you must fill out the forms that are provided in Texas’s protective order kit. Then, take the forms to the courthouse in the county where you or the offender lives. If your case is urgent, a judge may be grant an immediate temporary order called a temporary ex parte protective order. Otherwise, you must appear at a court hearing—usually within two weeks of filing your order—and a judge will decide whether to grant your petition. Then, law enforcement officers will serve the protective order to the offender.

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