Step 1: Go to the district attorney's office or the courthouse to file.
You will generally file your application in the county where you or the abuser lives or in any county where the abuse took place.1 However, if you have a divorce case pending or another pending case that affects the parent-child relationship, you must file for the protective order in:
- the court in which that case is pending; or
- in the court in the county in which you reside (and in this case, you must notify the clerk of the pending case).2
In many counties, the county attorney or district attorney will help you file for a protective order and represent you in court. If the prosecutor will not file on our behalf, you can file on your own, using the online pro se protective order kit. While these forms are legally valid in all courts, some counties prefer their own forms. However, if at all possible, you may want to first contact the legal advocate at your local family violence program to get information about where and how to file in your county since the process varies by county. A legal advocate can explain your county’s process and may be able to assist you in completing the tool kit’s forms. Note: If you go to an advocate for help, the conversations that you have with the advocate will be confidential/privileged and the advocate cannot reveal what you tell him/her unless an exception applies.3
To find the courthouse in your area or the district attorney’s office, go to TX Courthouse Locations.
Please note that the steps listed below vary from county to county. These instructions are meant as a general guide and do not reflect county-specific procedures. As mentioned earlier, if possible, you might consider first going to your local domestic violence organization or prosecutor’s office, to find out how to get a protective order in your county.
1 Tex. Fam. Code § 82.003
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 85.062(a),(b)
3 Tex. Fam. Code §§ 93.002; 93.003; 93.004