Is your ex trying to get a protective order against you? If you were recently served with an application for a protective order and have an upcoming hearing, you need to act quickly. There are serious repercussions to a protective order that could impact your life in many ways, including your child custody rights. At Angela Faye Brown & Associates, we can help. Keep reading to learn more about protective orders and what you need to do to protect your rights.

What Is a Protective Order?

A protective order is a civil court order that prohibits someone from interacting with another person. They aim to protect abuse victims from further threats or violence. However, when relationships end, things can get complicated. There are always two sides to every story. The family law attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates will listen to yours and give you both unbiased and practical advice.

To get a protective order, the alleged victim must file an application form with the court and prove that there is evidence of domestic violence. The court will typically schedule a hearing within 14 days of your application. You must attend this hearing.

At the hearing, both you and the applicant will get a chance to present your evidence and legal arguments. The judge typically will consider police reports, photographs of physical injuries or property damage, and witness testimony. You and your child custody lawyer should present documents, photos, and witnesses that help the judge understand what really happened. To learn more about fighting a protective order, contact us today.

If the judge decides that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future, they will issue a protective order. While some temporary protective orders can expire in as little as 20 days, others can last for years.

The Potential Impact of a Protective Order on You and Your Children

A protective order can dramatically change your life and limit your ability to parent your children. The court order might do the following:

  • Prohibit you from contacting or interacting with the applicant
  • Limit your child custody rights and require supervised visitation
  • Stop you from entering your child’s school or child care center
  • Prevent you from entering the applicant’s workplace or home
  • Allow the applicant sole access to a shared home or vehicle
  • Order temporary child support payments for up to 12 months
  • Require you to attend counseling sessions
  • Confiscate your firearms

While these limitations are meant to protect someone, they can turn your life upside down — especially if you still share a home or vehicle with your ex.

What Happens If I Violate a Protective Order?

If you violate a protective order, the applicant may call the police, which could lead to your arrest. Violating a protective order is a criminal offense that, under certain circumstances, is a felony in Texas. Depending on the nature of their violation, you might face up to two years in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Importantly, the police will only arrest you if you are violating the contact-related portions of your protective order. For example, if the protective order says you can’t enter your child’s school, and you decide to attend their graduation, you could be arrested. However, if you miss a counseling session, this won’t result in your automatic arrest.

Instead, the applicant or their lawyer can file documents with the court, alleging that you are in contempt of court. You’ll have to attend another court hearing — and might face fines, jail time, and additional penalties if you’re found in contempt.

How Will a Protective Order Impact Child Custody?

As a parent, spending time with your child is probably one of your top priorities. Unfortunately, the judge can award a protective order applicant with primary custody of your child. Depending on the circumstances, you might get visitation rights — or lose them for a period of time.

Under Texas law, a parent who has a documented history of domestic violence within the past two years cannot have physical custody of their child.

You also might be limited to supervised visitation. This means that you would be able to spend time with your child, but a professional (such as a social worker) would monitor your time together.

The judge has some discretion over child custody issues. For this reason, it’s important to consult with an experienced child custody attorney before your hearing. Your lawyer can help you present evidence and arguments that help you maintain a relationship with your child during a difficult time. An experienced attorney may also help you modify a child custody and visitation arrangement if your circumstances change.

Discuss Your Case With a Child Custody Attorney

If you are facing a protective order, contact Angela Faye Brown & Associates. We’ll listen to your side of the story and help you understand how a protective order may impact your life and child custody rights. We are proudly a Kids First law firm and are committed to representing the interests of children and their parents. We help our clients maintain strong relationships with their children during difficult times. Contact us today for a free consultation.