Domestic violence from a spouse or that targets children is a common reason for people to leave their marriage, but it can also make trying to leave seem that much more frightening. If you worry that your spouse will become violent when you ask for a divorce or if they have already become physically, financially or emotionally abusive, you need to protect yourself during what could be a very vulnerable time.

Although some people dismiss Texas Protective Orders as mere pieces of paper, they serve a very clear legal purpose. Securing a Protective Order ensures that there will be consequences if an abusive partner attempts to reach out to you, threaten you or stalk you. Knowing that you can call on police officers for help if your ex shows up can make it easier for you to transition to a new, safer life.

What can a Protective Order do?

Although it is technically a violation of Texas state law to intentionally hurt or threaten someone, just like it’s illegal to stalk or harass someone, people still break the law and abuse others. Abuse from someone you have a close relationship with can be particularly hard to escape from. A Protective Order is an official court order warning an individual of consequences, including arrest, if they violate the terms of the order.

Often, Protective Orders will include limitations on the actions of one person who poses a threat to someone else. A Protective Order can specifically tell someone not to contact you and not to threaten you or attempt to hurt you. The same order can also protect your family members, children, place of employment and even your pets from attempts at contact. Additionally, the courts can order the individual subject to the order to surrender their firearms.

Protective orders involve a court hearing process

When you ask the courts to issue a Protective Order, you ask them to intervene between you and someone who has either previously engaged in violent behavior toward you or whom you have a credible fear of harming you in the future due to threats.

You can receive a temporary order that will immediately start protecting you from abuse or stalking on the part of the other person. However, the courts will contact the other party and give them an opportunity to defend themselves at the hearing for the protective order. Having a lawyer helping you can make it easier to stand your ground when facing your ex in court and seeking the protection you need as you move forward.