How Domestic Protective Orders Can Affect a Parent’s Relationship with Their Child

Texas courts have the authority to enter protective orders that prevent a potentially dangerous or abusive domestic relation from contacting or harassing the protected party. If a protective order is entered in a scenario where the two parties to the order share one or more children, the terms of the order can complicate the parties’ relationships with their children.

Specifically, when the protected party has custody of the children, it can be difficult for the responding party to have a meaningful relationship with their children while the order is in effect. Many protective orders have the effect of inhibiting the parent-child relationship between the responding party and their child, however, it is possible to fight back against such provisions in a protective order. The Texas Court of Appeals recently addressed an appellant’s request to modify a protective order that prevented him from seeing his children.

According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the parties to the case share a child together. In March of 2021, the mother filed a request for a protective order. She alleged, among other things, that the father was violent towards her in front of the children, and also sexually assaulted her. Based on the court’s understanding of the evidence before it, the protective order was granted. One provision of the order prevented the father from attending or going near any of their child’s extracurricular activities. If the father violated this order, he could be sent to jail and face other permanent consequences.

The father appealed the entry of the protective order against him. While challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to enter any protective order at all, the father also challenged the provision that prevented him from going near his child’s extracurricular activities. The appellate court addressed the father’s arguments in turn. Although the court left the protective order intact, it agreed with the father that the language of the extracurricular activity provision was too vague to be enforceable. As a result of the appellate ruling, the case will be remanded to a lower court to adjust the order appropriately.

Protective Orders Can Be Successfully Disputed

It is nearly impossible to deny that Texas protective orders have prevented violence and likely saved hundreds of lives. This does not change the fact that the procedure to obtain a protective order can be abused. Some parents choose to seek protective orders, not because of a genuine fear for their safety, but to hurt their partner or for a tactical advantage in a subsequent custody or divorce case. If you or a loved one is facing a protective order request, your relationship with your children could be permanently damaged as a result of the terms of a potential order. The experienced Texas family law attorneys at Guest and Gray understand the elements that a valid protective order requires, and we will fight to protect your relationship with your children if an order is sought against you. Our lawyers represent Texas clients in a variety of family law issues, including protective orders. Contact our offices at 972-564-4644 and schedule a free consultation today.

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