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The Three Types of Protective Orders in Texas

protective orders

If you are going through a divorce and fear for your own safety, you may be able to obtain a protective order from the court. There is more than one type of protective order in Texas, though. The type of protective order you obtain will depend on the circumstances of your case. Below, our Houston family lawyer explains the different types of protective orders you can pursue in the Lone Star State.

Temporary Ex Parte Protective Orders

Sometimes, legal proceedings can become very heated. For example, if you are going through a divorce that involves children, you may become concerned that your spouse will hurt you or your kids. In these cases, you can obtain a temporary ex parte protective order. You must prove that your partner abused you and that you are at risk of future instances of abuse.

If the judge believes that you are in danger of abuse, they will issue a protective order for no longer than 21 days. A judge can issue this order without holding a hearing or noticing the other party, which is why it is known as ex parte. The temporary ex parte protective order can protect you while the other party is served with the protective order and until a hearing is scheduled.

Final Protective Orders

After a judge has issued a temporary ex parte protective order, a hearing is scheduled to determine if the order should be made final. During the hearing, a judge will hear arguments from both sides and make a decision. If the judge decides that you are being abused, or are at risk of becoming a victim of abuse, they will issue a final protective order. The final order can provide protection for up to two years. There are some instances in which a judge may order a final protective order that lasts more than two years. These include when:

  • The abuser acted in a manner that would be considered a felony offense that involved domestic violence against the petitioner, or a member of their family or household even if the person was never charged with such an offense,

 

  • The actions of the abuser resulted in serious bodily injury to the petitioner or a member of their household or family

 

  • The abuser had two or more protective orders issued against them in the past and in all of those previous cases, the judge determined that the abuser committed domestic violence and that they were likely to engage in domestic violence in the future

 

Just as judges can decide to extend a protective order for longer than two years, they can also discontinue an order earlier than its original duration. People who have protective orders issued against them can file a motion with the court asking for a discontinuation of the order one year after it was issued. After the court has received this request, the judge will decide during a hearing whether there is a continuing need for the order. If not, the judge can end the order even if it is prior to the date originally stated within the order.

Emergency Protective Orders

The above two types of protective orders are issued in civil court after you have petitioned for a protective order to be issued. These orders do not require an arrest to occur before an order can be issued. Emergency protective orders, sometimes referred to as Magistrate’s Orders, on the other hand, are usually ordered by the criminal court after an arrest has been made. Emergency protective orders generally last between 30 and 91 days and can be issued when your spouse has engaged in any of the following:

  • Stalking
  • Assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse
  • Trafficking

Although most emergency orders expire after 31 to 61 days, these orders can also be extended, as well. If the abuser used or brandished a deadly weapon while committing the assault, or they were arrested for domestic violence, the order may be in place for anywhere between 61 and 91 days. The officer who arrested a suspect will usually file an emergency protective order at the time of the arrest. However, an order can also be issued after a request made by you, your guardian, or the prosecutor.

Our Family Lawyer in Houston Can Help with Your Protective Order

Divorce is never easy, but it is even more difficult when you fear for your own safety or the safety of your children. At Ramos Law Group, PLLC, our Houston family lawyers can help you successfully obtain the protection you need. We will review the facts of your case, help you request the type of protective order that is right for you, and give you the best chance of success with your case. Call us today at 713-225-6200 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.