Both men and women may be the target of violence initiated by another family member. Such violence is called “family violence” and is defined under Texas law as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, sexual assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
A court order called a “Protective Order” can be issued by the court applying only to the person found to have committed family violence if the court finds that family violence has occurred and the family violence is likely to occur in the future under TFC section 85.022.
A Protective Order is not the same thing as a Temporary Restraining Order in a divorce proceeding. A Temporary Restraining Order in a divorce proceeding is a court order signed by the judge which orders that neither party is excluded from use of the marital home and that the parties ‘living arrangements and finances remain the same on a temporary basis during the divorce proceedings. Protective Orders specifically addresses family violence, unlike Temporary Restraining Orders. If an offender violates a Protective Order, law enforcement agencies should immediately arrest the offender and seek to have charges filed.
Ways to Obtain a Protective Order
Hire a Private Attorney
You can hire a private attorney to prepare and the file paperwork to file your application for a Protective Order.
Contact the District Attorney near you
You can contact the District Attorney of the county in which you reside. Most District Attorney’s offices have special divisions assigned to filing applications on behalf of victims for Protective Orders.
Harris County, Texas District Attorney:
As of May 11, 2018, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office for Protective Order applications is located at 2221 West Loop South, Suite 101, Houston, Texas 77027. They are open Monday – Friday from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Interviews are on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited appointments are available. Call 713-274-0212 for more information.
Montgomery County, Texas District Attorney:
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s office is located at 501 North Thompson Suite 300 Conroe, Texas 77301. You will need to call 936-539-7828to find out their days and hours of operation for accepting applications for Protective Orders.
Fort Bend County, Texas District Attorney:
The Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office is located at 1422 Eugene Heimann Circle, Richmond, Texas 77469. You will need to call 281-341-4460 or 281-341-4480 to find out their days and hours of operation for accepting applications for Protective Orders.
Emergency Magistrate’s Protective Order
You could obtain a Magistrates’ Protective Order if the offending spouse or person in a dating relationship is arrested. After the offender is arrested, many times, the Court Magistrate will issue a temporary Protective Order against the offender to remain in effect for 60 days before a hearing is held to determine if the Protective Order should be in effect for 2 years or more.
Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA)
You can contact Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA). AVDA has certain qualifications one must meet to qualify for their services. Their number is 713-224-9911.
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL 911
Call AVDA and Get Help Now 713-224-9911 or 24 Hour National DV Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Harris County District Clerk’s Office
- Child Support Information in Harris County, Texas
- Civil Filings in Harris County District Court
- Jury Information for Harris County, Texas Courts
- Copies of Court Orders and Divorce Decrees
Texas Attorney General
- Child Support
- Consumer protection
- Crime victims’ rights
Resources for those persons representing themselves without a lawyer and referral list:
Houston Volunteer Lawyers (HVLP) representation in general civil legal matters and family law matters 713-228-0735
Lone Star Legal Aid (family and other civil legal matters) 713-652-0077
University of Houston Legal Aid Clinic: civil and family 713-743-2094
South Texas College of Law: simply divorces 713-652-0009
Texas Southern University School of Law Clinic: family, civil, housing, consumer, immigration 713-313-1139
Southeast Texas Legal Clinic: general civil matters for HIV and clients 713-523-7852
NAACP Legal Redress Program: family law, probate, landlord/tenant, consumer; services for persons with HIV/AIDS 713-526-3389
Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) Counseling and legal representation 713-224-9911
Other resources for those persons representing themselves:
Harris County Domestic Relations Office: enforcement of child support, visitation, and paternity establishment: 713-755-6757
Dispute Resolution Center –mediation services for disputes between neighbors, family members, landlord/tenant, employer/employee, consumer matters 713-755-8274
Forms for filing an uncontested divorce in Texas for those persons representing themselves: Texas Law Help
Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC): divorces, protective orders, modifications, enforcement; limited services for non-domestic violence 713-528-2121
Associated Catholic Charities at www.catholiccharities.org (The Villa: Transitional housing helping women and their children escape from domestic violence)