Divorce in Texas is a challenging process, often marked by emotional turmoil and complex legal proceedings. When divorce becomes entwined with issues of domestic violence, the situation becomes even more daunting. Texas law is designed to protect the safety of victims of domestic violence while ensuring that alleged perpetrators of such violence are afforded due process while the court addresses the allegations. In this blog post, we delve into the details of one recently decided appellate case and explore the complex interplay between divorce and domestic violence protective orders in Texas.
The case in question revolved around a divorce that was filed in 2020. At the time of filing for divorce, the couple had been married for over three years and had a one-year-old daughter. After the man filed for divorce, the woman filed a counterpetition and sought a protective order for herself and her daughter, alleging that the husband had been violent to the wife and their daughter during the marriage.
The protective order hearing spanned six days, during which multiple witnesses provided testimony. The court also reviewed photos of injuries allegedly suffered by the victim. After the hearing, the court issued a final protective order in favor of the woman, making specific findings that the husband had committed family violence, was likely to commit it in the future, and had caused serious bodily injury. The protective order was set to last for eighteen years.
Six months later, the trial court finalized the divorce decree. Following this, the husband requested findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding the final protective order. When the trial court failed to issue additional findings, he filed a “Notice of Past Due Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.” After no additional findings were entered by the court, the husband appealed the entry of the protective order against him.
In his appeal, the man argued that the trial court erred by not issuing findings of fact and conclusions of law. In Texas, when a party properly requests these findings, the trial court has a mandatory duty to provide them. Failure to do so is presumed harmful unless the record demonstrates no injury to the complaining party. In the case of protective orders, the court must find whether “family violence has occurred” and “family violence is likely to occur in the future.” In this specific case, the final protective order included findings that met the requirements of Texas Family Code. As a result, the trial court was not obligated to make additional findings. This legal context dispelled the husband’s claim that the court erred by not issuing further findings and conclusions, leading to the overruling of his objection.
This judicial opinion highlights the complex nature of divorce cases intertwined with domestic violence. The Texas legal system mandates that findings of fact and conclusions of law are provided in such cases, but in situations where the protective order meets statutory requirements, no additional findings are necessary. This case serves as a reminder that domestic violence issues in divorce cases should be handled with care, ensuring that victims have the necessary legal protection while also upholding the principles of fairness and justice.
Are You Looking for an Experienced Texas Family Law Attorney?
If you or a loved one is anticipating a divorce or a request for a protective order based on allegations of domestic violence, the stakes are high, as the court’s decision could result in a dangerous situation or the unfair restriction of parental rights. The qualified and knowledgeable Texas family attorneys with Guest and Gray understand how to address issues of domestic violence, both within and apart from a divorce proceeding. If you are involved in a divorce with allegations of domestic violence, retaining an experienced Texas family law attorney from Guest and Gray can help you be confident that your case will be handled competently. If you’re facing a Texas family law issue, contact us at 972-564-4644 for a free consultation to discuss your case.