Articles Posted in Family Violence

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childBurt v. Francis arose from a contentious Texas divorce involving family violence. The trial court dissolved the marriage on May 29, 2014. There were three children. Although the couple had agreed to the terms of the divorce decree, they still fought over their three children. The mother later testified that the father was required to have the overnights with the kids at his mother’s house, and his behavior worsened after their divorce.

On the day after the divorce, the father was angry when he picked the children up for their weekend. He started yelling and smacking his fists. The mother was worried about his ability to drive safely and called the sheriff. That night, the father returned the children. The parents argued. The father pulled the three-year-old out of her arms and woke up the older child, and he left with all the children. He also threatened the children and told them the mother was a bad person. She called the sheriff again.

On June 30th, the father came by and berated the children, again claiming the mother was evil. The mother asked him to leave, but he wouldn’t. Their son was terrified. The father at another point shot a handgun at the mother’s house, claiming he was just showing the kids his new gun. The mother later would testify that the children were afraid of their father and that his actions were intimidating and oppressive.

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are flooding the media with news of their divorce and allegations of family violence. This blog post is not here to pick sides between Team Amber or Team Depp, but we do want to explain the difference between a Protective Order and a Temporary Restraining Order, and what to do if you need either of those.

There is a lot of confusion about how to protect yourself from family violence in Texas. Many clients approach our law firm asking for a restraining order, but what they really want is a protective order. Here is the difference:

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As a family law attorney, we are involved in a wide array of domestic issues ranging from a husband and wife who have simply fallen out of love and grown apart over the years, to situations involving infidelity and the very real emotional damage that echoes for years to come even after the divorce is finalized, to situations involving children—who will take the kids to baseball practice?  Who will be responsible for paying for their health insurance?  How will their expenses be handled?

But above all of the complications and struggles that pervade the separation and dissolution of a family unit, there is one issue that the parties, their attorneys, and the Courts place a priority on addressing, and that is family violence.  Continue reading →

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The Texas legislature has taken a strong stance against family violence. Title IV of the Texas Family Code codifies the injunctive remedy of Family Violence Protective Orders. In Texas, an Applicant for a Title IV Protective Order must first satisfy the venue requirements and have a qualifying relationship with the Respondent. In limited situations, an Applicant may be afforded the opportunity to apply for a Title IV Protective Order on behalf of another. Continue reading →