What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
- Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
- Ask the clerk for several free, certified copies.1 You can make additional copies as well, if needed.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
- You might want to leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. (Note: If the order prohibits the abuser from going near your child’s school or daycare, the clerk is supposed to send the order directly to the daycare or school. If child support is ordered, the clerk should send it to the child support division of the Office of the Attorney General. If the abuser is in the military, the clerk is supposed to send it directly to the military base/installation. The clerk is also supposed to send a copy to law enforcement in the municipality/county in which you live.)2
- You might want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- Give a photo and/or description of your partner and his vehicle to anyone you gave a copy of the order to.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.
1 Tex. Fam. Code § 81.002(2)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 85.042(a),(a-1),(b)