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Restraining Orders And Protective Orders Are Different

The terms “restraining order” and “protective order” are commonly used interchangeably and for the same type of court orders in many states. However, in Texas, they are not the same. Our state differentiates
between these two court orders, with important differences.

Restraining orders and protective orders are commonly used in cases of family violence, divorce and even criminal matters. If you are involved in any such conflict, you may need to obtain or contest a restraining order or protective order. If so, you can rely on the knowledge and experience you will find at Jeff Gilbert Law Office. Whether your legal matter is a civil or criminal one, we can help. Our firm has outstanding qualifications, including the highest peer-reviewed rating through Martindale Hubbell®, a respected legal industry organization. Led by a former prosecutor, judge and proven trial attorney, our team brings professionalism and care to every client.

Need legal assistance? Schedule a consultation with a Brazoria County restraining order attorney at
979-431-1268 or through our online request form.

What Is A Restraining Order In Texas?

A restraining order is issued by a judge and outlines what type of conduct the parties on each side of an issue can or cannot engage in. These orders may include prohibiting one party from contacting the other to protect family members and/or property from harm. Restraining orders are commonly used in Texas divorce cases.

For example, while a divorce is pending, a restraining order may state that neither party can sell marital property or empty bank accounts. This is ordered so that these assets remain intact until a marital property
settlement can be decided. The order may also declare that one party pays spousal support or child support to the other or detail how child visitation should be arranged. These types of restraining orders can be long and very specific to both restricted actions as well as ordered actions.

Types Of Restraining Orders In Texas

The state of Texas offers three types of restraining orders:

  • Temporary restraining order
  • Emergency protective order, sometimes called a magistrate’s order of emergency protection
  • Final protective order, also called a permanent protective order

The judge will determine which type of restraining order is appropriate based on certain circumstances and threat level.

How To File A Restraining Order

Filing a restraining order in Texas requires completing and submitting the necessary forms to the court clerk’s office. These forms must be signed under penalty of perjury and must include information about the respondent, such as their name, address and date of birth. Additionally, it must specify the type of abuse that has occurred or is likely to occur and any other relief desired by the petitioner. Once these forms have been filled out and reviewed by a judge, they will then be signed off and become valid immediately upon filing. The restraining order will remain in effect until further notice from the court.

After completing and submitting the necessary forms, the petitioner and their legal counsel (if they choose to hire one) must attend a court hearing. During this hearing, evidence will be presented, and both sides will be given an opportunity to present their arguments before the judge. The judge will then decide whether or not to grant the restraining order. If granted, the restraining order may provide several protections for the petitioner, such as prohibiting contact between the petitioner and respondent, ordering child support payments or allowing for evicting the respondent from the shared property. The restraining order is generally valid for two years but can be extended depending on the circumstances.

Temporary Restraining Orders And Injunctions

Restraining orders used in these types of scenarios can be issued as temporary restraining orders (TROs) or as injunctions. TROs typically remain in effect for only 14 days until a court hearing can be conducted to rule on the issue. Injunctions are another type of court order that are written to prevent some type of activity that is considered harmful to the protected party. They are part of civil lawsuits and can be issued on a temporary or permanent basis.

Restraining orders are civil matters, which means that law enforcement cannot enforce them. However, the courts can. The protected party must seek such enforcement by returning to court, where a judge can find a restraining order violator in contempt of court. The judge can then issue fines or other sanctions against the offender.

What Is A Protective Order In Texas?

Simply put, protective orders are generally issued by courts to protect family or household members from domestic abuse.

Protective orders are issued in cases of:

  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Sexual assault
  • Physical assault

Those who can be involved in protective orders include spouses, ex-spouses, household members, co-parents, individuals living together, and current and former dating partners. The relationships can include same-sex partners as well as straight couples. These orders generally remain in effect for two years.

What A Protective Order Does

Protective orders generally prohibit the aggressor in the relationship from making any type of contact with the protected party. This protection can extend to children as well. The prohibited contact usually includes
physical contact as well as contact by phone, email, letter, text, social media or even from third parties. The order may include prohibiting the aggressor from making contact at the protected person’s home, place of work, school or places he or she frequently visits. It can state that the aggressor must not go within a certain distance of the other party.

Violations Of Protective Orders

Protective orders can be issued in both criminal cases as well as family law cases. They are designed to protect people and their property. It is generally a criminal offense to violate a protective order. As such, they can be enforced by the police. Violations of protective orders can lead to fines of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to two years.

How To Obtain A Retraining Order In Texas

At Jeff Gilbert Law Office, we are here to help you with all issues relating to both restraining orders and protective orders. If you believe you or a family member’s safety is at risk, you can turn to us to help you move forward with legal action 24 hours a day. Our priority in all these matters is to help ensure that your legal rights are protected and that your story is heard in court. To that end, we can apply our abundant skills and knowledge in both civil and criminal cases.

Reach out to us at 979-431-1268 for the help you need today.