Let’s continue the subject of our last few posts by delving into the actual process of applying for an order of protection. There are a number of questions Dallas residents will be expected to answer, and important points they should understand. We present this as general information only, not as specific legal advice.
The Texas Attorney General’s website provides a kit (link below) for residents seeking an order of protection. The kit contains all of the forms necessary to apply. Residents should bring two copies of the completed kit to file at the courthouse in the county where their divorce or child custody case is pending (if applicable). Otherwise, they can file in the county where they live (or where the abuser lives). It’s free to apply.
The judge will schedule a hearing on the application to be held in about two weeks’ time, although it is possible to obtain temporary protection in the meantime (as discussed previously). You will have to notify the other person of the order by having him or her “served” a copy of it. The clerk of the court can arrange to have this done by the police at no cost to you.
At the hearing, the court will rule on whether protection should be ordered and how long it should endure. It’s not unusual for victims to experience some anxiety or even fear at the prospect of attending this hearing. Many find that having a family law professional at their side can provide a solid foundation and help assuage one’s nerves.
In any event, it’s important that you do attend the hearing, or your protection may end. We’ll talk more in a follow-up post about getting ready for the hearing.
Source: Texas Attorney General, “Protective Order Kit,” accessed on May 29, 2015