Unfortunately, sometimes the relationship between two people devolves into one in which one of the partners is the victim of domestic violence. If you are the victim of abuse or harassment by an intimate partner, you may want to know how you can protect yourself legally from further harm. Survivors of domestic violence have several types of protection available to them.
These types of protection are known as orders of protection and restraining orders. When police or court officials grant a restraining order in Texas, the person must cease all harassment as outlined in the order. If the person violates the order, they face criminal penalties for his or her actions. If you believe that your partner’s actions could be endangering your child, an order or protection can cover your child as well.
In the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident, the police will likely separate the two parties by asking that one of them leave. The police may arrest and remove the alleged abuser from the home. In these cases, the police will help you, the abused person, obtain an order of emergency protection. Emergency orders are short term and usually only last a few days.
Protection from abuse and harassment
If the abuse and harassment is ongoing, the next step is to obtain a protection order. This type of order differs from the emergency order because it lasts for a longer term of several weeks, months or even years. In some extreme cases, it will last for a lifetime.
An order of protection can shield you from abuse and harassment in many ways. There can be provisions included that prohibit any contact and that prevent the other person from coming within a certain distance of you. The order can require that the person move out of the home, but allow peaceful contact. The order may mandate the removal of firearms and require counseling.
Orders of protection are determined on a case-by-case basis and depend on the evidence brought against the abuser. If needed, the order can forbid the person from harming children and pets as well. To obtain this type of order, you will need to file the proper papers with the court.
Restraining orders and child custody
Restraining orders are distinct from orders of protection because they require parties to a lawsuit to adhere to certain guidelines. Domestic violence may or may not be the reason for the restraining order, but if you feel your child is in danger while in the other person’s custody, you may request one. If you request a restraining order without consulting the other party, it is called an ex parte order and a hearing will follow the request.
Getting help with restraining orders
Restraining orders and orders of protection can be a help for individuals undergoing a trying time in a divorce. However, understanding the correct option for your needs, the evidence needed and the correct filing method can be a challenge for a person unfamiliar with the process. You may choose to acquire experienced legal counsel to better understand the state laws surrounding protective orders and ensure the safety of yourself and your children.