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How can an Order of Protection help keep me safe from violence during my divorce?

Each year, more than 10 million people across America are physically abused by a partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  Domestic violence can make divorcing from your abusive spouse dangerous.  If you are seeking to escape an abusive marriage, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself, including filing for an Order of Protection in the state of Texas

Orders of Protection 

A protective order is an order issued by a civil court to protect family violence victims.  The protective order will order the following in Texas:

  • The abuser must stay away from you, your home, your place of work, and your school;
  • The abuser must stay away from all family members named within your petition;
  • The abuser cannot call or harass you;
  • At times, the abuser will no longer be permitted to carry a weapon.

You have the legal right to seek a protective order if your spouse has physically harmed you or attempted to physically harm you and may harm you again in the future.  Protective orders can last for up to two years and can be issued by a district or county court judge.  If your soon to be ex-spouse violates the protective order, he or she can be arrested.  Further, at times the order will include an order for your spouse to vacate the home, when violence has occurred within the last 30 days.
An Order of Protection will often form a part of the overall strategy to keep you safe while divorcing an abusive spouse.  If you are afraid your spouse will harm you, you should immediately contact the police and a divorce attorney who can further inform you as to your legal rights.  In addition to seeking an Order of Protection in court, you may be able to obtain temporary custody of your children and of the marital home and car if your spouse is abusive.  
Your safety and the safety of your children is always your number one priority, so take all actions necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones.  Do not hesitate to seek help from law enforcement and an attorney experienced in dealing with domestic violence matters.