The Texas Family Code provides a comprehensive framework for protective orders, especially in cases involving family violence. Here’s a breakdown of the key provisions under Chapter 82, which deals with applying for a protective order.

Starting the Process

  • Initiating the Application: Any proceedings under this chapter commence when an individual files “An Application for a Protective Order” with the court’s clerk.

Who Can Apply?

  • General Applicants: Adults from the family or household can file in cases of family violence as defined under Section 71.004(1) or (2).
  • Specific Cases: For family violence under Section 71.004(3), those in a dating relationship or marriage can apply. Additionally, any adult can file to safeguard a child from family violence. In some circumstances, prosecuting attorneys or the Department of Family and Protective Services can also file on behalf of alleged victims.

Where to File?

  • Determining the Venue: The application can be filed in the county where the applicant lives, where the respondent resides, or where the alleged family violence took place.

Content of the Application

  • Standard Form: Applicants should use a designated form from the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System. This form should detail names, relationships, protective order requests, and other relevant information.

Special Circumstances

  • During Marriage Dissolution: If someone wishes to apply for a protective order during a marriage dissolution or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, they must adhere to specific guidelines under Subchapter D, Chapter 85.
  • Post-Marriage Applications: Former spouses applying for a protective order should attach a copy of their marriage dissolution decree.
  • Children under Continuing Jurisdiction: If the application concerns a child under continuous court jurisdiction due to previous cases, it should come with relevant court orders.
  • After Previous Orders: If someone is applying after a previous protective order has expired, they must include a copy of the expired order and detail any violations or threats.

Confidentiality Measures

In counties with populations of 3.4 million or more, applications are confidential. The court can also, upon request, protect the applicant’s mailing address and county of residence.

Respondent’s Rights

  • Filing an Answer: Respondents have the right to file an answer before the hearing, but it’s not mandatory.
  • Applying for a Protective Order: If respondents wish to apply for a protective order themselves, they must file a separate application.

Notifying the Respondent

  • Notice Details: Notices should be comprehensive, detailing the application’s specifics, and must be issued by the court clerk upon the application’s filing.
  • Service of Notice: Respondents are entitled to a service of notice, which should be served similarly to a citation under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

In conclusion, the Texas Family Code offers a structured approach to protective orders, ensuring that both applicants and respondents are aware of their rights and responsibilities. If you or someone you know is considering applying for a protective order in Texas, or defending against one, it’s crucial to understand these provisions.

Need Representation? If you’re seeking to apply for a protective order or defending against one, don’t navigate these waters alone. Contact The Blacknall Firm for expert representation and guidance throughout the process. Your safety and rights are paramount, and we’re here to help.