Can I apply for a protective order in family court? In some cases, you are able to get the District Attorney’s Office to assist you in applying for a protective order against a family member, spouse, or individual committed violence against a person. However, in cases where there is a pending divorce or suit affecting the parent child relationship, the family courts are the best option for pursuing a protective order. A proceeding for a protective order can be initiated  by filing “An Application for a Protective Order” with the clerk of the family court.

Who can file for a protective order?

With regard to family violence under the Texas Family Code, an adult member of the family or household may file an application for a protective order to protect the applicant or any other member of the applicant’s family or household.

An application for a protective order to protect the applicant may be filed by: (1) an adult member of the dating relationship; or (2) an adult member of the marriage, if the victim is or was married.

With regard to family violence under the Texas Family Code, an application for a protective order to protect the applicant may be filed by a member of the dating relationship, regardless of whether the member is an adult or a child.

Any adult may apply for a protective order to protect a child from family violence.

In addition, an application may be filed for the protection of any person alleged to be a victim of family violence by: (1) a prosecuting attorney; or (2) the Department of Family and Protective Services.

The person alleged to be the victim of family violence in an application  is considered to be the applicant for a protective order.

Where do I file for a protective order?

An application may be filed in the county in which the applicant resides; the county in which the respondent resides; or any county in which the family violence is alleged to have occurred.

What does the application include?

An application must state the name and county of residence of each applicant; the name and county of residence of each individual alleged to have committed family violence; the relationships between the applicants and the individual alleged to have committed family violence;  a request for one or more protective orders; and whether an applicant is receiving services from the Title IV-D agency in connection with a child support case and, if known, the agency case number for each open case.

What if I am divorced from the person committing family violence?

If an applicant for a protective order is a former spouse of the individual alleged to have committed family violence, the application must include:

(1) a copy of the decree dissolving the marriage; or

(2) a statement that the decree is unavailable to the applicant and that a copy of the decree will be filed with the court before the hearing on the application.

What if I had a previous protective order in place?

An application for a protective order that is filed after a previously rendered protective order has expired must include: (1) a copy of the expired protective order attached to the application or, if a copy of the expired protective order is unavailable, a statement that the order is unavailable to the applicant and that a copy of the order will be filed with the court before the hearing on the application; (2) a description of either: the violation of the expired protective order, if the application alleges that the respondent violated the expired protective order by committing an act prohibited by that order before the order expired; or the threatened harm that reasonably places the applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault; and

(3) if a violation of the expired order is alleged, a statement that the violation of the expired order has not been grounds for any other order protecting the applicant that has been issued or requested.

The procedural requirements for an original application for a protective order apply to a protective order requested under the Texas Family Code.