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I need a protective order.

Protective Orders

How to ask the court for protection from someone who has been violent or threatened to be violent.
Overview

Guide Overview

Warning: The information and forms in this guide are not legal advice and are not a substitute for the help of a lawyer. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

This guide tells you about getting a protective order to protect you from someone who has been violent or threatened to be violent. 

Caution. Anyone who uses your computer can see what websites and pages you have visited. You cannot completely clear it.  If you think this may happen, please use a safer computer, call your local shelter, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY: 800-787-3224.

Common questions about Protective Orders

It is a court order that protects you from someone who has been violent or threatened to be violent. Violence can include sexual assault.

It can order the other person to:

  • Not hurt you or threaten to hurt you
  • Not contact you or go near you, your children, other family relatives, your pets, your home, where you work, or your children’s schools
  • Not have a gun or a license to carry a gun The police can arrest the other person for violating any of these orders

You can get a Protective Order if:

  • Someone has hurt you, or threatened to hurt you, and
  • You are afraid that person may hurt you again, and
  • Either you, or your spouse or dating partner has a close relationship with the person who hurt you
    • A close relationship includes: marriage, close relatives, dating or living together, or having a child together.

You can also get a Protective Order if you have had a Protective Order against the other person before and the other person violated the parts of the Protective Order designed to protect you.

You can also get a Protective Order if you have been sexually assaulted or stalked, even if you do not have a close relationship with the person who sexually assaulted or stalked you. To get more information about this kind of Protective Order, contact the Texas Advocacy Project, Inc. at 800-374- HOPE(4673) or the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault at 512-474-7190.

The judge can make orders about who gets to use the house, apartment or car.

The judge can also make other orders like child custody, child support, visitation, and spousal support. The judge can also make an order to protect pets. 

The judge may give you a temporary order that protects you until your court hearing.

This order is called a “Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order”.

Please note: if you do not receive a court document entitled “Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order” that is signed by the judge after you apply, you do NOT have a protective order yet.You must go to a hearing and ask the judge for a Protective Order. In some cases, the judge orders the other person to leave the home right away. If you want this, you should ask the judge. Be ready to testify at a hearing when you file your Application.

Yes. Even if you get a Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order, you must go to the next hearing. It should be in about 2 weeks.The judge will decide if you should have protection and for how long. If you do not go, the Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order may end.

In most cases, a Protective Order will last up to two years. There are some situations where a court can issue a Protective Order that lasts longer than two years.

Instructions & Forms

PLEASE BE CAREFUL 

Anyone who uses your computer can see what websites and pages you have visited.  You cannot completely clear it.  If you think this may happen, please use a safer computer, call your local shelter, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY: 800-787-3224.

This guide tells you about getting a protective order to protect you from someone who has been violent or threatened to be violent. FORMS ARE INCLUDED.

This GUIDE includes:

  • Instructions & Forms you can use to file a protective order.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about protective orders 
  • Articles on topics related to protective orders.

You can also use this guided form to help you complete and eFile the Application for Protective Order and Respondent Information Sheet.

Checklist Steps

If you miss it, your Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order may end.

  • Fill out a Protective Order before you go to court and bring it with you
  • Make sure the respondent has been served with the protective order application and notice of the hearing date.
  • When the respondent is served with the Application for Protective Order and hearing date you should receive Proof of Service. File this Proof of Service with the Court before your hearing and bring a copy to court. Proof of Service is a document that shows when and where the other person was given a copy of your Application for Protective Order. Proof of Service must be filed with the court before your hearing date in order to get a protective order if the respondent does not show up.
  • Bring any evidence you have, like photographs, medical records, or torn clothing. Also bring witnesses who know about the violence, like a neighbor, relative, or police. The judge may ask them to testify.
  • If you had a Protective Order in the past, bring a copy of it.
  • Bring proof of your and the other person’s income and expenses, like bills, paycheck stubs, bank accounts, and tax returns.

Make a list of the orders you want and practice saying them out loud. Do not take more than 3 minutes to say what you want.

If you get nervous, just read from your application list. Use that list to see if the judge has made every order you asked for.

Find the courtroom.

2. When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer that you are present.

3. Watch the cases before yours so you will know what to do.

4. When your name is called, go to the front of the courtroom.

The other person or his/her lawyer may also ask you questions. Tell the truth. Speak slowly. Give complete answers. If you don’t understand the question, say, “I don’t understand the question.”

Speak only to the judge unless it is your turn to ask questions. When other people are talking to the judge, wait for them to finish. Then you can ask questions about what they said.

When you first file your application, tell the clerk you will need an interpreter. Ask the clerk for free interpretation services. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, a protected person, or a witness to interpret for you.

When you file your papers, ask for an interpreter or other accommodation.

Call the Family Violence Legal Line before you go to court: 800-374-HOPE(4673)

If you don’t feel safe, call your local family crisis center or the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE(7233)

If the judge agrees you need protection, they will sign your Protective Order. Take your signed order to thecourt clerk. Ask for a certified copy of your order and keep it with you at all times.

Make sure copies of your order are sent to your children's daycare, babysitter, school, and to the other person's staff judge advocate at Joint Force Headquarters or the provost marshal of the military installation to which they are assigned. If the other person violates the order, call the police and show them your order.

If you are in danger, call the police: 911

Or call the Family Violence Legal Line: 800-374-HOPE(4673)

Or go to: www.texaslawhelp.org

Forms Required

Articles in this guide