Connect with Us

For A Free Consultation:

832-317-6705

Faq & More >> Articles >> Articles about Divorce >> Domestic Violence in Texas Divorces
Domestic Violence in Texas Divorces
March 3, 2020

Sitting man with angry face drawing held up in front of his faceAccording to the Texas Department of Public Safety's The Texas Crime Report for 2018, there were 197,023 incidents of family violence in Texas in 2018. Out of that total, 33.4% occurred between husbands and wives. Unfortunately, as the statistics show, domestic violence between married couples is not a rare occurrence, and these incidents are often part of and the cause of divorces in Texas. There are 4 typical options available to protect the victim when there is domestic violence in a Texas divorce case: magistrate's order, ex-parte protective order, final protective order and injunctions. This article will review these 4 options and their pros and cons.

1. Magistrate's Order of Emergency Protection

A magistrate's order is issued by a criminal court. If a person is arrested for an offense involving family violence, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or stalking, the criminal court may issue the magistrate's order. If a person is arrested for an offense involving family violence with serious bodily injury or the display or use of a deadly weapon, the criminal court must issue the magistrate's order. When the court has discretion to issue the magistrate's order, the order can be requested by the court itself, the victim, the state's attorney or a law enforcement officer. A magistrate's order seeks to protect the victim in two alternate ways. Option 1, it can prohibit the abuser from committing family violence, stalking the victim and communicating directly or indirectly in a threatening or harassing manner with the victim and any member of the victim's family or household. Option 2, it can prohibit the abuser from going near the residence, work place or school of the victim. The magistrate's order must also suspend the abuser's concealed handgun license and prohibit the abuser from possessing a firearm during the duration of the order. Violation of a magistrate's order by the abuser is a criminal offense, and if convicted, the abuser will face penalties for a Class A Misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail, $4,000 fine, or both).

Pros:

-No court hearing is required for the issuance of a magistrate's order.

-The abuser can be ordered to wear a GPS tracker.

-The abuser faces criminal penalties for violating the order.

Cons:

-A discretionary magistrate's order lasts only between 31 and 61 days.

-A mandatory magistrate's order lasts only between 31 and 91 days.

2. Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order

A temporary ex-parte protective order is issued by a family court. On the application of the victim, the family court can grant a temporary ex-parte protective order without notice to the alleged abuser if the court finds, based on the victim's application, that there is a clear and present danger of family violence. A temporary ex-parte protective order can protect the victim by prohibiting the alleged abuser from: committing family violence, communicating with the victim, going to or near the residence or place of employment of the victim, stalking the victim and/or possessing a firearm. If a residence is owned or leased by the victim or an alleged abuser who is the victim's spouse, an ex-parte protective order can also remove and exclude the alleged abuser from the residence without notice to the alleged abuser provided the victim provides a sworn affidavit and testifies at a hearing on why the alleged abuser needs to be excluded from the residence. Violation of a temporary ex-parte protective order is a criminal offense, and if convicted, the alleged abuser will face penalties for a Class A Misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail, $4,000 fine, or both).

Pros:

-No notice is required to the alleged abuser before the court can grant the temporary ex-parte protective order.

-The alleged abuser can be removed from the residence.

-The alleged abuser faces criminal penalties for violating the order.

Cons:

-The order can only last a maximum of 40 days.

3. Final Protective Order

A final protective order is issued by a family court. On the application of the victim and after notice to the abuser and a hearing before the court, the family court can grant a final protective order if the court finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. A final protective order can protect the victim by prohibiting the abuser from: committing family violence, communicating with the victim, going to or near the residence or place of employment of the victim, stalking the victim and/or possessing a firearm. If a residence is owned or leased by the victim or an abuser who is the victim's spouse, a final protective order can also remove and exclude the abuser from the residence. Violation of a final protective order is a criminal offense, and if convicted, the abuser will face penalties for a Class A Misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail, $4,000 fine, or both).

Pros:

-A final protective order lasts 2 years.

-The abuser can be removed and excluded from the residence.

-The abuser faces criminal penalties for violating the order.

Cons:

-A final protective order can only be granted after notice to the abuser and a hearing.

4. Injunctions

An injunction is an order by a Court prohibiting a party from committing a specific act. Family courts routinely include injunctions in temporary orders and final orders in divorce cases. After notice to the abuser and a hearing before the Court, a family court can issue an injunction in a temporary order if the court finds that the injunction is necessary for the protection of a party. After a trial, a family court can issue an injunction in a final order if the court finds that the injunction is necessary because there are no adequate alternative remedies available. Injunctions can protect the victim by prohibiting the abuser from: committing family violence, communicating with the victim, going to or near the residence or place of employment of the victim and/or stalking the victim. Violations of injunctions in a court's order need to be enforced by a party to the case by filing an enforcement lawsuit.

Pros:

-Injunctions in temporary orders will last for the duration of the case.

-Injunctions in final orders will last until they are modified by a later order of the Court.

-The standard for obtaining protective injunctions is lower than for obtaining a protective order.

Cons:

-Enforcement of violations of injunctions requires the victim to file an enforcement lawsuit, which often means incurring additional attorney's fees and litigation costs upfront.

-The necessary injunctions can only be granted after notice to the abuser and a hearing.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and plan on filing for divorce, contact Sugar Land divorce attorney Chikeersha Puvvada at 832-317-6705 or online today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

Share this article

Main Office:

19855 Southwest Freeway
Suite 330
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Tel. (832) 317-6705
Fax (866) 561-5068
cpuvvada@puvvadalaw.com

The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer-client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Chikeersha Puvvada is responsible for the content of this site.

Chikeersha Puvvada is admitted to practice law in the following states only: Texas, New Jersey.

Copyright 2020 - Puvvada Law Office, PLLC. All rights reserved.