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FAMILY VIOLENCE / PROTECTIVE ORDERS

The Texas Family Code defines family violence as "an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself." Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 71.004. To obtain a protective order, "an adult member of the family or household may file an application for a protective order to protect the applicant or any other member of the applicant's family or household." Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 82.002.

The court allows application for an emergency "Temporary Ex Parte Order" upon the showing of a "clear and present danger of family violence" based on the affidavit submitted with the Application for Protective Order. If obtained, the temporary ex parte order may not exceed the length of 20 days, unless requested by an applicant or the court to extend for an additional 20 days.

If a party obtains a protective order, pursuant to Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 85.021, the court may:
  1. prohibit a party from:
  2. removing a child who is a member of the family or household from:
    1. the possession of a person named in the order, or
    2. the jurisdiction of the court;
    3. transferring, encumbering, or otherwise disposing of property, other than in the ordinary course of business, that is mutually owned or leased by the parties; or
    4. removing a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal [...] from the possession of a person named in the order;
  3. grant exclusive possession of a residence to a party and, if appropriate, direct one or more parties to vacate the residence if the residence:
    1. is jointly owned or leased by the party receiving exclusive possession and a party being denied possession;
    2. is owned or leased by the party retaining possession; or
    3. is owned or leased by the party being denied possession and that party has an obligation to support the party or a child of the party granted possession of the residence;
  4. provide for the possession of and access to a child of a party if the person receiving possession of or access to the child is a parent of the child;
  5. require the payment of support for a party or for a child of a party if the person required to make the payment has an obligation to support the other party or the child; or
  6. award to a party the use and possession of specified property that is community property or jointly owned or leased property.
If you are in immediate threat of family violence, please contact the local police department or Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. If you are a victim of family violence or believe you or a family member face a threat of family violence, contact our office today for an initial consultation.

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