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Title IV Family Violence Protective Orders

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.

Under Texas law, upon a showing of clear and present danger of family violence, an Applicant may request that the Court issue an Emergency Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order without notice to the Respondent (Texas Family Code Section 83). The primary purpose of this emergency order is to provide immediate safety to victims of family violence through final hearing.

The final hearing on an Application for Protective Order occurs on an expedited basis so as to provide swift protection to victims. Before a Final Protective Order may be granted, the Applicant must show, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), that: (1) family violence has occurred in the past; and (2) that it is more likely than not that family violence will occur again in the future (Texas Family Code Section 85.001) . If entered by the Court, a Final Protective order may enjoin the Respondent from the following acts: committing family violence against a protected person; going with a specific distance of any protected person and/or any protected person’s residence or place of business; possessing a firearm or ammunition; following any protected person; engaging in conduct that is reasonably likely to annoy, alarm, harass, torment, or embarrass any protected person (Texas Family Code Section 85.022). It is important to remember that each Final Protective Order is unique and that the preceding list of injunctions is not an exhaustive one. Once the Court issues a Final Protective Order, any violation by the Respondent may be enforced through contempt and/or criminal prosecution.

To learn more about Title IV Family Violence Protective Orders, please contact our law office at 214-692-8200 to schedule a consultation.