Family Violence

Both men and women may become targets of violence initiated by another family member, known as “family violence,” as defined under Texas law. Family violence involves an act by a member of a family or household against another member with the intention of causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, sexual assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent harm. Defensive measures to protect oneself are excluded from this definition.

Protective Order

A court order, termed a “Protective Order,” may be issued by the court, applying specifically to the person found to have committed family violence. If the court determines that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future (under TFC section 85.022), a Protective Order may be issued.

It’s crucial to note that a Protective Order differs from a Temporary Restraining Order in a divorce proceeding. While a Temporary Restraining Order in a divorce proceeding maintains the parties’ living arrangements and finances temporarily, Protective Orders specifically address family violence. If an offender violates a Protective Order, law enforcement agencies are obligated to arrest the offender, and charges should be filed.

Ways to Obtain a Protective Order

  1. Hire a Private Attorney: You can enlist a private attorney to prepare and file the necessary paperwork for your Protective Order application.
  2. Contact the District Attorney Near You:
    • Harris County, Texas District Attorney: Harris County District Attorney’s Office – 2221 West Loop South, Suite 101, Houston, Texas 77027. Call 713-274-0212 for more information.
    • Montgomery County, Texas District Attorney: 501 North Thompson Suite 300 Conroe, Texas 77301. Call 936-539-7828 for information.
    • Fort Bend County, Texas District Attorney: 1422 Eugene Heimann Circle, Richmond, Texas 77469. Call 281-341-4460 or 281-341-4480 for information.
  3. Emergency Magistrate’s Protective Order: If the offending spouse or person in a dating relationship is arrested, a Magistrates’ Protective Order can be obtained. The Court Magistrate may issue a temporary Protective Order against the offender, remaining in effect for 60 days before a hearing determines its extension.
  4. Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA):
    • Contact AVDA: Call 713-224-9911.
    • In Immediate Danger, Call 911. Get Help Now: 713-224-9911 or 24 Hour National DV Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Additional Resources: