Starting the Protective Order Case
The case is initiated by the filing of an Application for Protective Order (by or for “the applicant’). Upon that filing, a Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order can be requested to offer immediate protection to the applicant; and, the Court is required to schedule an evidentiary hearing. In most Texas counties, that hearing must be set to occur within fourteen (14) days of the filing of the Application for Protective Order. In very large, or very rural counties, however, that hearing can be scheduled to occur as many as twenty (20) days after the Application is filed. Importantly, if obtained, the Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order should be in effect up to the date of the hearing.
The Protective Order Hearing
The Protective Order hearing is a trial. As such, the parties, and any other witnesses, can be called to provide testimony. That testimony will be about the allegations made within the Application for Protective Order filed by the applicant. Importantly, any witness called to testify at the hearing may be cross-examined by any other party to the case. And, usually, the witnesses will not be allowed to hear the testimony of the other witnesses, nor to discuss testimony with other witnesses, so that their respective testimonies will not be influenced by what they would hear other witnesses testify to at the hearing (at least, that will be the case if your lawyer makes a proper request to the court for sequestration of the witnesses).
Other Evidence Considered by the Court
In addition to witness testimony, relevant photographs, recordings, documents (such as medical, or police, reports), and other relevant evidence can be introduced as evidence (caution: each of these types of demonstrative evidence requires sufficient evidentiary predicate in order to be admissible over the objection of another party to the case, so it will be necessary to coordinate those foundations with your lawyer ahead of time). In addition to the evidence introduced by the parties, the Presiding Judge may ask questions to clarify what happened between the parties to the case.
The Court’s Judgment
After all of the evidence and argument has been presented, and any questions posed by the Judge have ben answered, the court will make findings about: the nature of the relationship that exists between the parties to the case; whether the Respondent committed “Family Violence;” and, if Family Violence did occur, is it likely to occur in the future? Based on all of those findings, the court will either grant the requested Protective Order, or deny the request for that Order.
Family Violence is a serious matter, and our courts treat allegations of Family Violence quite seriously. Whether you are a victim of such violence, or one who stands accused of committing Family Violence, it is important that you take the case seriously, since its outcome will have serious effects.
DivorceWhen Family Violence occurs in a marriage, divorce often follows, or is threatened. If you feel that may be the case with you, then you should learn how to get prepared for a divorce case.