Articles Posted in Protective Order

In Texas family law cases, there are two separate types of protective documents that parties can seek. Restraining orders are not to be confused with protective orders. Most often, parties seek a restraining order in a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship to take exclusive possession of property or the children. If a restraining order is needed, it is important to seek the restraining order from the very beginning of the case or at or near the time the need is realized.

For instance, in cases involving children and concerns for their safety, the requesting party requests the court to order that the children be removed from the other party’s custody and placed into the requesting party’s custody solely until the court hearing. This means that once removed, the other party will not have any access to the children until the hearing. To qualify for a temporary restraining order of this nature, one must present an affidavit that on its face alleges that if the court did not grant the restraining order, then the child’s physical health and/or emotional development would be significantly impaired. In many cases, this arises when it is discovered that other parent’s actions, decisions, or behaviors are dangerous for the children. Examples include drugs, criminal activity, neglect, absence of the other parent due to hospitalization, jail, etc.

Restraining orders are typically sought when initial pleadings are filed and they are presented to the judge ex parte (without the other party present). Your sworn affidavit will be attached to the pleadings for the restraining order and will contain all of the information for the judge as to why he/she should grant the restraining order. The hearing will be set the same day the judge signs the order and it must occur within 14 days. Therefore, the court holds a quick hearing to allow the other party time to present their own case. It also gives you a chance to put on evidence and bolster your case as to why the judge made the right decision to grant the restraining order in the first place. At this hearing, you can request that the court continue the restraining order. Thought, often times, the court will not completely deny access to the children but rather grant supervised visitation by an appropriate supervisor; this is, of course, if supervised access is warranted and proven necessary. With that said, there are some cases when the need for a a restraining order to remove children arises while the case is pending.  You will still need to submit an affidavit and a request for a restraining order.  However, some counties require that you also send notice to the other party/attorney so that they may be present when you present the restraining order to the court initially.  The hearing will still be held 14 days from the date the judge signed the order.

Many people come in and ask our office this question because they have legitimate concerns regarding the other party.  Most importantly, these cases often involve allegations of family violence or there is a pending protective order already in place.  If you are afraid of your ex in any way, you need to notify the proper authorities and your attorney.

Your right to privacy in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship is located within Texas Family Code Section 153.012 which states that the Court has discretionary authority to order your residence information to be deleted from a court order before the order is released to the other parent.  It does not give specific guidelines as to when the Court can order this and it is, as we stated, discretionary in that it states “the court may.”  Therefore, it is important to discuss all reasons why you feel this information should be withheld from the other party.

If you are seeking or have a protective order in place, then Texas Family Code Section 85.007 guides with respect to confidentiality of certain information.  If you have a protective order then you, anyone in your family or household can request that the Court exclude the address and telephone number from the order of: (a) a person protected by the order (it would only state the county where you reside); (b) the employment or business of a person protected by the order; or (c) child-care facility (daycare) or school of child protected by the order.  Once you have made this request, the Court will strike the information and it will be kept for court purposes only.