Many times in the practice of family law, two people have to sit at a table with their lawyers and reach an agreement over how to divide their property or their parental responsibilities. Once married, or otherwise together in a romantic relationship, the two have now gone their separate ways. It can be an uncomfortable situation, but it’s usually for the best if they can come together to discuss important matters.

Sometimes, however, the situation is not just uncomfortable, but counterproductive or even dangerous. Many people seek a divorce because their partner has become violent with them. For these people, the first priority is keeping themselves and their children safe.

Texas residents who reasonably fear violence from a spouse or partner can go to court to request a protective order. If the court grants the request, it orders the alleged abuser to stay away from the victim’s home, workplace, school and the victim’s children’s schools and daycare centers. It also orders the abuser to not hurt, threaten or harass the victim or their children. Further, the alleged abuser is prohibited from carrying a gun, even with a license.

The judge can also order an abuser to leave their home, pay child support, attend anger management classes and more.

The person requesting the protective order must show a history or pattern of violence, and convince the court of the likelihood that the violence will continue in the future. Evidence that will help convince the court includes things like photographs, threatening voicemails or text messages, etc. A court will usually grant the request for a person who has previously called the police after a domestic violence incident involving the accused abuser.

Alleged abusers have the right to challenge these orders at hearings.

These are highly emotional and sensitive matters, but they must be dealt with quickly. People who are afraid of violence from their partners should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to learn about their legal options.