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Legal Information: Texas

Restraining Orders

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November 5, 2020

Who is eligible for a protective order?

You can apply for a protective order on behalf of yourself and/or your child if you meet one of the following:

  • the abuser is “a family or household member,” which is defined as a:
    • current or former spouse;
    • blood relative such as a parent, sibling, child;
    • relative by marriage (an in-law);
    • person with whom you have a child in common;
    • household member;
    • foster parent; or
    • foster child;
  • the abuser is someone with whom you have/had a “dating relationship;”
  • the abuser is the current spouse or current boyfriend/girlfriend of your ex-spouse or your ex-significant other – for example, John and Maria broke up; Maria is now dating Mike. Mike (the new boyfriend) is threatening to kill John (the ex) because Mike doesn’t want John texting Maria; or
  • the abuser is the ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend of your current spouse or current significant other – for example, John and Maria broke up; Maria is now dating Mike. John (the ex) is threatening to kill Mike (the new boyfriend) because John is jealous that Maria has moved on.1

In addition, a prosecutor/district attorney or the Department of Family and Protective Services can file an application on behalf of any person alleged to be a victim of family violence.2

You may also be able to get a protective order against someone who has sexually assaulted you even if s/he is not a family or household member (like a co-worker or neighbor). See Protective Orders for Victims of Sexual Assault or Abuse, Stalking, or Trafficking for more information.

1 Tex. Fam. Code §§ 71.0021, 71.003, 71.005, 71.006
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 82.002(d)

Can a minor file for a protective order?

An adult household member or any adult can file for a protective order to protect a minor from family violence.1 However, if the minor is in a dating relationship and is applying for the order based on “dating violence,” s/he can file for the protective order on his/her own.2Note: A minor is a person under the age of 18.3

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 82.002(a)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 82.002(b)(1)
3 Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 129.001

Can I get a protective order against a same-sex partner?

In Texas, you may apply for a protective order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who is eligible for a protective order?  You must also be the victim of an act of family violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of “family violence” in Texas?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

How much does it cost to get a protective order?

Nothing, a protective order is free.  You cannot be charged a fee for filing, serving, entering a protective order, or for getting additional certified copies of the order.1

The court may order that the abuser pay any attorney fees (if applicable), and all other fees, charges, or expenses incurred in connection with the protective order.2

A domestic violence organization may be able to refer you to free legal services.  Please go to the TX Finding a Lawyer page for information about free or low cost legal services.

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 81.002
2 Tex. Fam. Code §§ 81.003, 81.005