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Protective Orders: Obtaining Legal Protection from Abuse in Plano, Texas

According to statistics, one in three women and one in four men experience physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Fortunately, legal protection is available to victims of abuse through protective orders. In this article, we’ll explore the processes and requirements for obtaining a protective order in Plano, Texas, to help those in need find the legal protection they deserve.

Understanding Protective Orders What is a Protective Order?

A protective order is a legal document issued by a court that orders an individual to stop harmful behavior towards another individual. It can prohibit contact, including physical contact, phone calls, emails, and messages, and may also restrict the abuser from going near the victim's home, workplace, or other locations the victim frequents. A protective order can also provide temporary custody and child support arrangements and order the abuser to pay restitution.

Protective orders are often used in cases of domestic violence, stalking, and harassment. They are designed to protect victims from further harm and give them a legal tool to use if the abuser violates the order. Protective orders can be an important step in breaking the cycle of abuse and helping victims feel safe.

Types of Protective Orders in Texas

There are three types of protective orders available in Texas: emergency protective orders, temporary ex parte protective orders, and final protective orders.

Emergency Protective Orders: Emergency protective orders are issued by law enforcement when they respond to a call and believe there is an immediate threat of harm. These orders are temporary and usually only last for a few days, giving the victim time to seek a more permanent solution.

Temporary Ex Parte Protective Orders: Temporary ex parte protective orders can be granted by a judge without a hearing, which lasts for up to 20 days. These orders are designed to provide immediate protection for victims while they wait for a final protective order to be issued.

Final Protective Orders: Final protective orders can be issued after a hearing where both parties have an opportunity to be heard, and they last for up to two years. These orders are the most comprehensive and provide long-term protection for victims.

How Protective Orders Work

Protective orders are enforceable by law enforcement and can result in criminal charges if they are violated. Violating a protective order can result in fines, jail time, and other penalties. Protective orders can also be used as evidence in family law courts and may be extended or modified if circumstances change.

It's important to note that protective orders are not a guarantee of safety. Victims should still take steps to protect themselves, such as changing their phone number, installing a security system, and seeking support from friends and family. Protective orders can provide a sense of security and allow victims to take steps to reclaim their lives.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, it's important to seek help. There are resources available, such as hotlines, shelters, and counseling services, that can provide support and guidance. No one deserves to be abused, and there is help available.

Eligibility for Protective Orders Relationship Requirements

In order to be eligible for a protective order in Texas, the victim must have a specific type of relationship with the abuser. This includes family members, current or former spouses, individuals living together, and individuals who have children together. Additionally, people who are actively dating or have dated in the past may be eligible for a protective order.

Evidence of Abuse or Threats

To obtain a protective order, the victim must provide evidence of abuse or threats of harm. This can include police reports, medical records, photographs, witness statements, and other documentation that shows that the abuser has engaged in violent or threatening behavior. The victim may also be asked to provide testimony in a hearing.

Other Factors Affecting Eligibility

Other factors that may affect eligibility for a protective order include the victim’s age, mental and physical health, and the abuser's history of violence. The victim must also be able to demonstrate that they are in imminent danger of harm or that they have suffered harm in the past to obtain a protective order.

The Process of Obtaining a Protective Order Filing a Protective Order Application

The process of obtaining a protective order in Plano, Texas, begins with filing an application with the court. The application will include information about the victim, the abuser, and the alleged incidents of abuse or threats. The victim can fill out the application at the courthouse, or with the assistance of an attorney or domestic violence advocate.

Temporary Ex Parte Protective Orders

If the victim is in immediate danger, they can request a temporary ex parte protective order, which can be granted without a hearing and will last for up to 20 days. The victim or their attorney will need to show evidence of the threat of harm or abuse to obtain a temporary order.

The Protective Order Hearing

If a temporary ex parte protective order is not granted, a hearing will be scheduled where both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence and provide testimony. The judge will then decide whether to issue a final protective order.

Enforcing the Protective Order

Once a protective order is issued, the abuser will be served with a copy of the order, and law enforcement will be notified. If the abuser violates the order, they may face criminal charges and other penalties. The victim should keep a copy of the order with them at all times and report any violations of the order to law enforcement.

Legal Assistance and Resources Finding a Family Law Attorney in Plano

If you or someone you know is in need of a protective order, it is essential to seek the assistance of a family law attorney who can guide you through the process. The State Bar of Texas provides a lawyer referral service that can connect you with a qualified attorney in your area.

Local Domestic Violence Support Services

Victims of abuse can also seek support from local domestic violence support services, such as shelters, hotlines, and counseling services. In Plano, the Turning Point Rape Crisis Center provides free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

Texas State Resources for Victims of Abuse

The Texas Attorney General's Office provides resources and support for victims of abuse, including information on protective orders, victim compensation, and legal aid. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also available 24/7 to provide support and assistance to victims of abuse.


Obtaining a protective order can provide legal protection and peace of mind for victims of abuse in Plano, Texas. By understanding the types of protective orders available, the eligibility requirements, and the process of obtaining a protective order, victims can take steps to protect themselves and their families. It is important to seek the assistance of a family law attorney and local domestic violence support services to navigate the complex legal system and find the resources and assistance needed to move forward.

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