Protective & Restraining Orders in Houston
Protecting You & Your Family’s Safety
Our family law attorneys have over a century of combined legal experience, with hundreds of cases successfully won for our clients. Our aim in every case is to exceed your expectations and secure the best possible outcome for you. Our legal team works together to ensure that your case receives the focus, attention, and insight it needs to succeed. Let us protect what matters most to you.
How to know if you need a protective order
Are you (or were you) in an abusive relationship?
Texas law allows people to obtain protective orders in almost any type of abusive relationship, from family violence to dating violence. Whether you are no longer dating, are currently going through a breakup, or continue to be involved in the relationship, the option of a protective order is available to you.
Are you going through a divorce?
You cannot afford to jeopardize your legal and financial standing as you enter the next phase of your life by having a protective order taken out against you. At the same time, if you are a victim of domestic violence, by no means can you afford to roll the dice with your safety or your children's safety by not seeking protection.
What’s the Difference Between Restraining & Protective Orders?
The terms restraining order and protective order often are used interchangeably. But in Texas, these two terms have very different meanings. A protective order is a court order issued to protect a victim of family violence from further harm. It typically prohibits a family member from contacting or being near another family member. It applies in all types of family law situations, not just divorces.
Protective orders are not routine orders. They are recorded with law enforcement agencies, and police may be present when the person subject to the order is forced to leave the family home. A family member who violates a protective order can be charged with a crime.
Restraining orders are court orders designed to regulate the behavior of parties to a divorce. Restraining orders can prohibit parties from emptying bank accounts, taking out new loans, talking negatively to the other party or about the other party in front of their children and other behaviors.
Both protective orders and restraining orders can be established immediately through ex parte orders, which are temporary orders that are enforced prior to a formal hearing.
To be sure, when many people think of protective orders, the restriction that comes to mind is the "keep your distance" requirement. However, this aspect of a protective order is only one part of many important factors.
What else can a protective order do?
Family court judges can tailor a protective order broadly or narrowly based on an applicant's specific requests and what the judge determines to be in the best interests of the parties.
For example, a protective order can require the offending party to:
Vacate a home shared with the alleged victim
Not remove a child from the home of the person who obtained the order
Stay a certain distance from the school attended by children who have been subjected to violence
Require the offending party to pay financial support to the applicant or child in some circumstances
Not remove or destroy property shared between the parties
Forfeit his or her right to purchase firearms
You might be wondering why you would need a lawyer to help you. After all, these measures are fairly comprehensive. Here’s the truth: there are many situations in which legitimate and serious family violence requires swift legal action.
However, there are also times when parties are tempted to act in the heat of the moment—without giving serious deliberation to how pursuing or defending against a protective order application can have long-term effects on the marital relationship, including your financial well-being.
Those accused of family violence may face lasting damage to their professional or community reputations; likewise, those considering taking out a protective order will have to endure some level of scrutiny.
By consulting with our family law attorneys as soon as possible—whether you have been served with an application for a protective order or need to file an application for your personal safety—we can immediately assess how various scenarios could play out and build a responsive legal strategy to each.
Protecting Your Rights in the Application Process
Understanding the sensitive nature of family disputes, Texas courts have tried to make the process of submitting and responding to a protective order application as straightforward as possible. This ensures fairness to both parties while protecting those who have cause to fear for their safety or their children's safety.
Nevertheless, it is always advisable to have an experienced lawyer guide you through the process. Here’s why:
If you have been accused of domestic violence, you may have been notified directly by your spouse that he or she intended to seek a protective order against you. In some cases, however, the accused don't learn of legal proceedings until they are served with notice of the application.
By seeking our experienced legal help early in the process, you will give us ample time with which to prepare your case for the hearing. Just as importantly, we can make sure that you don't do anything in the interim that could jeopardize your standing when the application goes before a judge.
If you are seeking protection, we can identify the proper court in which to file your application and ensure that it contains all the information the court will need to give fair consideration to your claims. If you face a threat of imminent violence or have been a victim of violence, we can help you obtain a temporary ex parte order that takes effect immediately and lasts until a judge can hear both sides of the case.
Ex parte orders are available for both protective order cases and restraining orders issued during divorce. Protective orders may not last longer than 20 days. Temporary restraining orders may not last longer than 14 days.
The Protective Order Hearing: Telling Your Side of the Story
For protective orders, a judge will hear the full merits of your application within 20 days (plus one possible extension of another 20 days) of the application date. The person against whom the order is being sought is entitled to respond to the allegations before the hearing.
During the hearing, both sides have a full opportunity to argue for or against a final protective order. The result can significantly impact the legal and financial rights of everyone involved indefinitely.
Especially at this stage, having our experienced family law attorneys in your corner can make all the difference. We are experienced litigators first and foremost, meaning we have spent years successfully advancing our clients' cases before a judge and honing an effective balance of aggressive case presentation and sensitivity to delicate family dynamics.
Whether your personal safety, reputation and/or financial standing are involved, we go to the courthouse ready to protect what matters most to you.
How Different Courts May Affect Your Case
Judges are ultimately human. While we might want the laws to be applied with perfect consistency across every single case heard in courts across Texas, here’s the truth: cases are decided with some subjectivity.
Because our attorneys have handled cases from all parts of Texas, focusing on Houston, Fort Bend County, and Galveston, we know how the court where we represent a client is likely to handle protective orders.
Knowing what to expect—including which judges are most sympathetic to protective order applications and which are more skeptical of such cases—means our clients won't be surprised by the legal process.
In short, our experience is your advantage.
Call Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey Now: (713) 909-7323
At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C., looking out for you is our bottom line. In the context of divorce, this means giving you an advantageous position when it comes to dividing property, setting the terms of alimony, and resolving issues of child custody and support. When questions of personal safety enter the picture, this also means ensuring that you get a fair hearing in the legal system that compromises neither your legal rights nor your personal safety. We don't settle for less.
Contact us today to speak with our Houston family lawyers in a confidential consultation.