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Statutes: Texas

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Statutes: Texas

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Current through the end of the 2017 Regular and First Called Sessions of the 85th Legislature. Please note that Texas has a biennial legislature. You will find these and additional statutes online at the Texas Legislature Online.

Civil Practice and Remedies Code (select sections)

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Title 6. Miscellaneous Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 129. Age of Majority

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

129.001. Age of Majority

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The age of majority in this state is 18 years.

Title 7. Alternate Methods of Dispute Resolution

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 154. Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter C. Impartial Third Parties

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

154.052. Qualifications of Impartial Third Party

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), to qualify for an appointment as an impartial third party under this subchapter a person must have completed a minimum of 40 classroom hours of training in dispute resolution techniques in a course conducted by an alternative dispute resolution system or other dispute resolution organization approved by the court making the appointment.
(b) To qualify for an appointment as an impartial third party under this subchapter in a dispute relating to the parent-child relationship, a person must complete the training required by Subsection (a) and an additional 24 hours of training in the fields of family dynamics, child development, and family law, including a minimum of four hours of family violence dynamics training developed in consultation with a statewide family violence advocacy organization.
(c) In appropriate circumstances, a court may in its discretion appoint a person as an impartial third party who does not qualify under Subsection (a) or (b) if the court bases its appointment on legal or other professional training or experience in particular dispute resolution processes.

Family Code (select sections)

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Title 1. The Marriage Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subtitle A. Marriage

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 2. The Marriage Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter E. Marriage Without Formalities

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

2.401. Proof of Informal Marriage

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, the marriage of a man and woman may be proved by evidence that:

(1) a declaration of their marriage has been signed as provided by this subchapter; or

(2) the man and woman agreed to be married and after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife and there represented to others that they were married.

(b) If a proceeding in which a marriage is to be proved as provided by Subsection (a)(2) is not commenced before the second anniversary of the date on which the parties separated and ceased living together, it is rebuttably presumed that the parties did not enter into an agreement to be married.

(c) A person under 18 years of age may not:

(1) be a party to an informal marriage; or

(2) execute a declaration of informal marriage under Section 2.402.

(d) A person may not be a party to an informal marriage or execute a declaration of an informal marriage if the person is presently married to a person who is not the other party to the informal marriage or declaration of an informal marriage, as applicable.

Subtitle C. Dissolution of Marriage

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 6. Suit for Dissolution of Marriage

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. Grounds for Divorce and Defenses

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

6.001. Insupportability

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

6.002. Cruelty

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.

6.003. Adultery

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.

6.004. Conviction of Felony

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse:

(1) has been convicted of a felony;

(2) has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice , a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state; and

(3) has not been pardoned.

(b) The court may not grant a divorce under this section against a spouse who was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.

6.005. Abandonment

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse:

(1) left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment; and

(2) remained away for at least one year.

6.006. Living Apart

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.

6.007 Confinement in Mental Hospital

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if at the time the suit is filed:

(1) the other spouse has been confined in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital, as defined in Section 571.003, Health and Safety Code, in this state or another state for at least three years; and

(2) it appears that the hospitalized spouse’s mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that, if adjustment occurs, a relapse is probable.

Subchapter D. Jurisdiction, Venue, and Residence Qualifications

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

6.301. General Residency Rule for Divorce Suit

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A suit for divorce may not be maintained in this state unless at the time the suit is filed either the petitioner or the respondent has been:

(1) a domiciliary of this state for the preceding six-month period; and

(2) a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for the preceding 90-day period.

6.302. Suit for Divorce by Nonresident Spouse

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If one spouse has been a domiciliary of this state for at least the last six months, a spouse domiciled in another state or nation may file a suit for divorce in the county in which the domiciliary spouse resides at the time the petition is filed.

6.303. Absence on Public Service

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Time spent by a Texas domiciliary outside this state or outside the county of residence of the domiciliary while in the service of the armed forces or other service of the United States or of this state, or while accompanying the domiciliary’s spouse in the spouse’s service of the armed forces or other service of the United States or of this state, is considered residence in this state and in that county.

Subchapter F. Temporary Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

6.501. Temporary Restraining Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) After the filing of a suit for dissolution of a marriage, on the motion of a party or on the court’s own motion, the court may grant a temporary restraining order without notice to the adverse party for the preservation of the property and for the protection of the parties as necessary, including an order prohibiting one or both parties from:

(1) intentionally communicating in person or in any other manner, including by telephone or another electronic voice transmission, video chat, in writing, or electronic messaging, with the other party by use of vulgar, profane, obscene, or indecent language or in a coarse or offensive manner, with intent to annoy or alarm the other party;

(2) threatening the other party in person or in any other manner, including by telephone or another electronic voice transmission, video chat, in writing, or electronic messaging, to take unlawful action against any person, intending by this action to annoy or alarm the other party;

(3) placing a telephone call, anonymously, at an unreasonable hour, in an offensive and repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication with the intent to annoy or alarm the other party;

(4) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to the other party or to a child of either party;

(5) threatening the other party or a child of either party with imminent bodily injury;

(6) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring, or otherwise harming or reducing the value of the property of the parties or either party with intent to obstruct the authority of the court to order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage;

(7) intentionally falsifying a writing or record, including an electronic record, relating to the property of either party;

(8) intentionally misrepresenting or refusing to disclose to the other party or to the court, on proper request, the existence, amount, or location of any tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information;

(9) intentionally or knowingly damaging or destroying the tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information;

(10) intentionally or knowingly tampering with the tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information, and causing pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the other party;

(11) except as specifically authorized by the court:

(A) selling, transferring, assigning, mortgaging, encumbering, or in any other manner alienating any of the property of the parties or either party, regardless of whether the property is:

(i) personal property, real property, or intellectual property; or

(ii) separate or community property;

(B) incurring any debt, other than legal expenses in connection with the suit for dissolution of marriage;

(C) withdrawing money from any checking or savings account in a financial institution for any purpose;

(D) spending any money in either party’s possession or subject to either party’s control for any purpose;

(E) withdrawing or borrowing money in any manner for any purpose from a retirement, profit sharing, pension, death, or other employee benefit plan, employee savings plan, individual retirement account, or Keogh account of either party; or

(F) withdrawing or borrowing in any manner all or any part of the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy on the life of either party or a child of the parties;

(12) entering any safe deposit box in the name of or subject to the control of the parties or either party, whether individually or jointly with others;

(13) changing or in any manner altering the beneficiary designation on any life insurance policy on the life of either party or a child of the parties;

(14) canceling, altering, failing to renew or pay premiums on, or in any manner affecting the level of coverage that existed at the time the suit was filed of, any life, casualty, automobile, or health insurance policy insuring the parties’ property or persons, including a child of the parties;

(15) opening or diverting mail or e-mail or any other electronic communication addressed to the other party;

(16) signing or endorsing the other party’s name on any negotiable instrument, check, or draft, including a tax refund, insurance payment, and dividend, or attempting to negotiate any negotiable instrument payable to the other party without the personal signature of the other party;

(17) taking any action to terminate or limit credit or charge credit cards in the name of the other party;

(18) discontinuing or reducing the withholding for federal income taxes from either party’s wages or salary;

(19) destroying, disposing of, or altering any financial records of the parties, including a canceled check, deposit slip, and other records from a financial institution, a record of credit purchases or cash advances, a tax return, and a financial statement;

(20) destroying, disposing of, or altering any e-mail, text message, video message, or chat message or other electronic data or electronically stored information relevant to the subject matter of the suit for dissolution of marriage, regardless of whether the information is stored on a hard drive, in a removable storage device, in cloud storage, or in another electronic storage medium;

(21) modifying, changing, or altering the native format or metadata of any electronic data or electronically stored information relevant to the subject matter of the suit for dissolution of marriage, regardless of whether the information is stored on a hard drive, in a removable storage device, in cloud storage, or in another electronic storage medium;

(22) deleting any data or content from any social network profile used or created by either party or a child of the parties;

(23) using any password or personal identification number to gain access to the other party’s e-mail account, bank account, social media account, or any other electronic account;

(24) terminating or in any manner affecting the service of water, electricity, gas, telephone, cable television, or any other contractual service, including security, pest control, landscaping, or yard maintenance at the residence of either party, or in any manner attempting to withdraw any deposit paid in connection with any of those services;

(25) excluding the other party from the use and enjoyment of a specifically identified residence of the other party; or

(26) entering, operating, or exercising control over a motor vehicle in the possession of the other party.

(b) A temporary restraining order under this subchapter may not include a provision:

(1) the subject of which is a requirement, appointment, award, or other order listed in Section 64.104, Civil Practice and Remedies Code; or

(2) that:

(A) excludes a spouse from occupancy of the residence where that spouse is living except as provided in a protective order made in accordance with Title 4;1

(B) prohibits a party from spending funds for reasonable and necessary living expenses; or

(C) prohibits a party from engaging in acts reasonable and necessary to conduct that party’s usual business and occupation.

6.504. Protective Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

On the motion of a party to a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the court may render a protective order as provided by Subtitle B, Title 4. [FN1]

Chapter 8. Maintenance

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

8.001. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this chapter:

(1) “Maintenance” means an award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.

(2) “Notice of application for a writ of withholding” means the document delivered to an obligor and filed with the court as required by this chapter for the nonjudicial determination of arrears and initiation of withholding for spousal maintenance.

(3) “Obligee” means a person entitled to receive payments under the terms of an order for spousal maintenance.

(4) “Obligor” means a person required to make periodic payments under the terms of an order for spousal maintenance.

(5) “Writ of withholding” means the document issued by the clerk of a court and delivered to an employer, directing that earnings be withheld for payment of spousal maintenance as provided by this chapter.

Subchapter B. Spousal Maintenance

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

8.051. Eligibility for Maintenance

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In a suit for dissolution of a marriage or in a proceeding for maintenance in a court with personal jurisdiction over both former spouses following the dissolution of their marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over an absent spouse, the court may order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and:

(1) the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense occurred:

(A) within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed; or

(B) while the suit is pending; or

(2) the spouse seeking maintenance:

(A) is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;

(B) has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or

(C) is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

Title 4. Protective Orders and Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subtitle A. General Provision

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 71. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

71.001. Applicability of Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Definitions in this chapter apply to this title.(b) If, in another part of this title, a term defined by this chapter has a meaning different from the meaning provided by this chapter, the meaning of that other provision prevails.(c) Except as provided by this chapter, the definitions in Chapter 101 apply to terms used in this title.

71.002. Court

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Court” means the district court, court of domestic relations, juvenile court having the jurisdiction of a district court, statutory county court, constitutional county court, or other court expressly given jurisdiction under this title.

71.0021. Dating Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) “Dating violence” means an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that:

(1) is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order:

(A) with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship; or

(B) because of the victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and

(2) is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

(b) For purposes of this title, “dating relationship” means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of:

(1) the length of the relationship;

(2) the nature of the relationship; and

(3) the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

(c) A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a “dating relationship” under Subsection (b).

71.003 Family

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Family” includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Sections 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.

71.004. Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Family violence” means:
(1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;
(2) abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or
(3) dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021.

71.005. Household

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Household” means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.

71.006. Member of a Household

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Member of a household” includes a person who previously lived in a household.

71.007. Prosecuting Attorney

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Prosecuting attorney” means the attorney, determined as provided in this title, who represents the state in a district or statutory county court in the county in which venue of the application for a protective order is proper.

Subtitle B. Protective Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 81. General Provision

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

81.001. Entitlement to Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A court shall render a protective order as provided by Section 85.001(b) if the court finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future.

81.002. No Fee for Applicant

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

An applicant for a protective order or an attorney representing an applicant may not be assessed a fee, cost, charge, or expense by a district or county clerk of the court or a sheriff, constable, or other public official or employee in connection with the filing, serving, or entering of a protective order or for any other service described by this subsection, including:

(1) a fee to dismiss, modify, or withdraw a protective order;(2) a fee for certifying copies;(3) a fee for comparing copies to originals;(4) a court reporter fee;(5) a judicial fund fee;(6) a fee for any other service related to a protective order; or

(7) a fee to transfer a protective order.

81.003. Fees and Costs Paid by Party Found to Have Committed Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except on a showing of good cause or of the indigence of a party found to have committed family violence, the court shall require in a protective order that the party against whom the order is rendered pay the $16 protective order fee, the standard fees charged by the clerk of the court in a general civil proceeding for the cost of serving the order, the costs of court, and all other fees, charges, or expenses incurred in connection with the protective order.(b) The court may order a party against whom an agreed protective order is rendered under Section 85.005 to pay the fees required in Subsection (a).

81.004. Contempt for Nonpayment of Fee

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A party who is ordered to pay fees and costs and who does not pay before the date specified by the order may be punished for contempt of court as provided by Section 21.002, Government Code.(b) If a date is not specified by the court under Subsection (a), payment of costs is required before the 60th day after the date the order was rendered.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 34, § 1, eff. May 5, 1997.

81.005. Attorney's Fees

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court may assess reasonable attorney’s fees against the party found to have committed family violence or a party against whom an agreed protective order is rendered under Section 85.005 as compensation for the services of a private or prosecuting attorney or an attorney employed by the Department of Family and Protective Services.

(b) In setting the amount of attorney’s fees, the court shall consider the income and ability to pay of the person against whom the fee is assessed.

81.006. Payment of Attorney's Fees

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The amount of fees collected under this chapter as compensation for the fees:

(1) of a private attorney shall be paid to the private attorney who may enforce the order for fees in the attorney’s own name;

(2) of a prosecuting attorney shall be paid to the credit of the county fund from which the salaries of the employees of the prosecuting attorney are paid or supplemented; and

(3) of an attorney employed by the Department of Family and Protective Services shall be deposited in the general revenue fund to the credit of the Department of Family and Protective Services.

81.007. Prosecuting Attorney

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The county attorney or the criminal district attorney is the prosecuting attorney responsible for filing applications under this subtitle unless the district attorney assumes the responsibility by giving notice of that assumption to the county attorney.

(b) The prosecuting attorney responsible for filing an application under this subtitle shall provide notice of that responsibility to all law enforcement agencies in the jurisdiction of the prosecuting attorney.

(c) The prosecuting attorney shall comply with Article 5.06, Code of Criminal Procedure, in filing an application under this subtitle.

81.0075. Representation by Prosecuting Attorney in Certain Other Actions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subject to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, a prosecuting attorney is not precluded from representing a party in a proceeding under this subtitle and the Department of Family and Protective Services in another action involving the party, regardless of whether the proceeding under this subtitle occurs before, concurrently with, or after the other action involving the party.

81.008. Relief Cumulative

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Except as provided by this subtitle, the relief and remedies provided by this subtitle are cumulative of other relief and remedies provided by law.

81.009. Appeal

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), a protective order rendered under this subtitle may be appealed. (b) A protective order rendered against a party in a suit for dissolution of a marriage may not be appealed until the time the final decree of dissolution of the marriage becomes a final, appealable order. (c) A protective order rendered against a party in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship may not be appealed until the time an order providing for support of the child or possession of or access to the child becomes a final, appealable order.

Chapter 82. Applying for Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. Application for Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

82.001. Application

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A proceeding under this subtitle is begun by filing “An Application for a Protective Order” with the clerk of the court.

82.002. Who May File Application

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) With regard to family violence under Section 71.004(1) or (2), an adult member of the family or household may file an application for a protective order to protect the applicant or any other member of the applicant’s family or household

(b) With regard to family violence under Section 71.004(3), an application for a protective order to protect the applicant may be filed by:

(1) a member of the dating relationship, regardless of whether the member is an adult or a child; or

(2) an adult member of the marriage, if the victim is or was married as described by Section 71.0021(a)(1)(B).

(c) Any adult may apply for a protective order to protect a child from family violence.

(d) In addition, an application may be filed for the protection of any person alleged to be a victim of family violence by:

(1) a prosecuting attorney; or

(2) the Department of Family and Protective Services.

(e) The person alleged to be the victim of family violence in an application filed under Subsection (c) or (d) is considered to be the applicant for a protective order under this subtitle.

82.003. Venue

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

An application may be filed in:

(1) the county in which the applicant resides;

(2) the county in which the respondent resides; or

(3) any county in which the family violence is alleged to have occurred.

82.004. Contents of Application

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

An application must state:

(1) the name and county of residence of each applicant;

(2) the name and county of residence of each individual alleged to have committed family violence;

(3) the relationships between the applicants and the individual alleged to have committed family violence;

(4) a request for one or more protective orders; and

(5) whether an applicant is receiving services from the Title IV-D agency in connection with a child support case and, if known, the agency case number for each open case.

82.005. Application Filed During Suit for Dissolution of Marriage or Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A person who wishes to apply for a protective order with respect to the person’s spouse and who is a party to a suit for the dissolution of a marriage or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship that is pending in a court must file the application as required by Subchapter D, Chapter 85.

82.006. Application Filed After Dissolution of Marriage

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If an applicant for a protective order is a former spouse of the individual alleged to have committed family violence, the application must include:

(1) a copy of the decree dissolving the marriage; or

(2) a statement that the decree is unavailable to the applicant and that a copy of the decree will be filed with the court before the hearing on the application.

82.007. Application Filed for Child Subject to Continuing Jurisdiction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

An application that requests a protective order for a child who is subject to the continuing exclusive jurisdiction of a court under Title 5 or alleges that a child who is subject to the continuing exclusive jurisdiction of a court under Title 5 has committed family violence must include:

(1) a copy of each court order affecting the conservatorship, support, and possession of or access to the child; or

(2) a statement that the orders affecting the child are unavailable to the applicant and that a copy of the orders will be filed with the court before the hearing on the application.

82.008. Application Filed After Expiration of Former Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) An application for a protective order that is filed after a previously rendered protective order has expired must include:

(1) a copy of the expired protective order attached to the application or, if a copy of the expired protective order is unavailable, a statement that the order is unavailable to the applicant and that a copy of the order will be filed with the court before the hearing on the application;(2) a description of either:

(A) the violation of the expired protective order, if the application alleges that the respondent violated the expired protective order by committing an act prohibited by that order before the order expired; or

(B) the threatened harm that reasonably places the applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault; and

(3) if a violation of the expired order is alleged, a statement that the violation of the expired order has not been grounds for any other order protecting the applicant that has been issued or requested under this subtitle.

(b) The procedural requirements for an original application for a protective order apply to a protective order requested under this section.

82.0085. Application Filed Before Expiration of Previously Rendered Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If an application for a protective order alleges that an unexpired protective order applicable to the respondent is due to expire not later than the 30th day after the date the application was filed, the application for the subsequent protective order must include:

(1) a copy of the previously rendered protective order attached to the application or, if a copy of the previously rendered protective order is unavailable, a statement that the order is unavailable to the applicant and that a copy of the order will be filed with the court before the hearing on the application; and

(2) a description of the threatened harm that reasonably places the applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

(b) The procedural requirements for an original application for a protective order apply to a protective order requested under this section.

82.009. Application for Temporary ex Parte Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) An application that requests the issuance of a temporary ex parte order under Chapter 83 must:

(1) contain a detailed description of the facts and circumstances concerning the alleged family violence and the need for the immediate protective order; and

(2) be signed by each applicant under an oath that the facts and circumstances contained in the application are true to the best knowledge and belief of each applicant.

(b) For purposes of this section, a statement signed under oath by a child is valid if the statement otherwise complies with this chapter.

82.010. Confidentiality of application

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) This section applies only in a county with a population of 3.4 million or more. (b) Except as otherwise provided by law, an application for a protective order is confidential, is excepted from required public disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may not be released to a person who is not a respondent to the application until after the date of service of notice of the application or the date of the hearing on the application, whichever date is sooner. (c) Except as otherwise provided by law, an application requesting the issuance of a temporary ex parte order under Chapter 83 is confidential, is excepted from required public disclosure under Chapter 552 Government Code, and may not be released to a person who is not a respondent to the application until after the date that the court or law enforcement informs the respondent of the court’s order.

 

82.011. Confidentiality of Certain Information

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

On request by an applicant, the court may protect the applicant’s mailing address by rendering an order:
(1) requiring the applicant to:
(A) disclose the applicant’s mailing address to the court;
(B) designate a person to receive on behalf of the applicant any notice or documents filed with the court related to the application; and
(C) disclose the designated person’s mailing address to the court;
(2) requiring the court clerk to:
(A) strike the applicant’s mailing address from the public records of the court, if applicable; and
(B) maintain a confidential record of the applicant’s mailing address for use only by the court; and
(3) prohibiting the release of the information to the respondent.

Subchapter B. Pleadings By Respondent

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

82.021. Answer

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A respondent to an application for a protective order who is served with notice of an application for a protective order may file an answer at any time before the hearing. A respondent is not required to file an answer to the application.

82.022. Request by Respondent for Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

To apply for a protective order, a respondent to an application for a protective order must file a separate application.

Subchapter C. Notice of Application For Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

82.041. Contents of Notice of Application

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A notice of an application for a protective order must:
(1) be styled “The State of Texas”;
(2) be signed by the clerk of the court under the court’s seal;
(3) contain the name and location of the court;
(4) show the date the application was filed;
(5) show the date notice of the application for a protective order was issued;
(6) show the date, time, and place of the hearing;
(7) show the file number;
(8) show the name of each applicant and each person alleged to have committed family violence;
(9) be directed to each person alleged to have committed family violence;
(10) show:
(A) the name and address of the attorney for the applicant; or
(B) if the applicant is not represented by an attorney:
(i) the mailing address of the applicant; or
(ii) if applicable, the name and mailing address of the person designated under Section 82.011; and
(11) contain the address of the clerk of the court.
(b) The notice of an application for a protective order must state: “An application for a protective order has been filed in the court stated in this notice alleging that you have committed family violence. You may employ an attorney to defend you against this allegation. You or your attorney may, but are not required to, file a written answer to the application. Any answer must be filed before the hearing on the application. If you receive this notice within 48 hours before the time set for the hearing, you may request the court to reschedule the hearing not later than 14 days after the date set for the hearing. If you do not attend the hearing, a default judgment may be taken and a protective order may be issued against you.”

82.042. Issuance of Notice of Application

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On the filing of an application, the clerk of the court shall issue a notice of an application for a protective order and deliver the notice as directed by the applicant.(b) On request by the applicant, the clerk of the court shall issue a separate or additional notice of an application for a protective order.

82.043. Service of Notice of Application

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Each respondent to an application for a protective order is entitled to service of notice of an application for a protective order.(b) An applicant for a protective order shall furnish the clerk with a sufficient number of copies of the application for service on each respondent.(c) Notice of an application for a protective order must be served in the same manner as citation under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, except that service by publication is not authorized.(d) Service of notice of an application for a protective order is not required before the issuance of a temporary ex parte order under Chapter 83.(e) The requirements of service of notice under this subchapter do not apply if the application is filed as a motion in a suit for dissolution of a marriage. Notice for the motion is given in the same manner as any other motion in a suit for dissolution of a marriage.

Chapter 83. Temporary Ex Parte Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

83.001. Requirements for Temporary ex Parte Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If the court finds from the information contained in an application for a protective order that there is a clear and present danger of family violence, the court, without further notice to the individual alleged to have committed family violence and without a hearing, may enter a temporary ex parte order for the protection of the applicant or any other member of the family or household of the applicant.(b) In a temporary ex parte order, the court may direct a respondent to do or refrain from doing specified acts.

83.002. Duration of Order; Extension

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A temporary ex parte order is valid for the period specified in the order, not to exceed 20 days.(b) On the request of an applicant or on the court’s own motion, a temporary ex parte order may be extended for additional 20-day periods.

83.003. Bond Not Required

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court, at the court’s discretion, may dispense with the necessity of a bond for a temporary ex parte order.

83.004. Motion to Vacate

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Any individual affected by a temporary ex parte order may file a motion at any time to vacate the order. On the filing of the motion to vacate, the court shall set a date for hearing the motion as soon as possible.

83.005. Conflicting Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

During the time the order is valid, a temporary ex parte order prevails over any other court order made under Title 5 to the extent of any conflict between the orders.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 34, § 1, eff. May 5, 1997.

83.006. Exclusion of Party From Residence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Subject to the limitations of Section 85.021(2), a person may only be excluded from the occupancy of the person’s residence by a temporary ex parte order under this chapter if the applicant:

(1) files a sworn affidavit that provides a detailed description of the facts and circumstances requiring the exclusion of the person from the residence; and

(2) appears in person to testify at a temporary ex parte hearing to justify the issuance of the order without notice.

(b) Before the court may render a temporary ex parte order excluding a person from the person’s residence, the court must find from the required affidavit and testimony that:

(1) the applicant requesting the excluding order either resides on the premises or has resided there within 30 days before the date the application was filed;

(2) the person to be excluded has within the 30 days before the date the application was filed committed family violence against a member of the household; and

(3) there is a clear and present danger that the person to be excluded is likely to commit family violence against a member of the household.

(c) The court may recess the hearing on a temporary ex parte order to contact the respondent by telephone and provide the respondent the opportunity to be present when the court resumes the hearing. Without regard to whether the respondent is able to be present at the hearing, the court shall resume the hearing before the end of the working day.

Chapter 84. Hearing

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

84.001. Time Set for Hearing

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On the filing of an application for a protective order, the court shall set a date and time for the hearing unless a later date is requested by the applicant. Except as provided by Section 84.002, the court may not set a date later than the 14th day after the date the application is filed.(b) The court may not delay a hearing on an application in order to consolidate it with a hearing on a subsequently filed application.

84.002. Extended Time for Hearing in District Court In Certain Counties

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On the request of the prosecuting attorney in a county with a population of more than two million or in a county in a judicial district that is composed of more than one county, the district court shall set the hearing on a date and time not later than 20 days after the date the application is filed or 20 days after the date a request is made to reschedule a hearing under Section 84.003.

(b) The district court shall grant the request of the prosecuting attorney for an extended time in which to hold a hearing on a protective order either on a case-by-case basis or for all cases filed under this subtitle.

84.003. Hearing Rescheduled for Failure of Service

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a hearing set under this chapter is not held because of the failure of a respondent to receive service of notice of an application for a protective order, the applicant may request the court to reschedule the hearing.(b) Except as provided by Section 84.002, the date for a rescheduled hearing shall be not later than 14 days after the date the request is made.

84.004. Hearing Rescheduled for Insufficient Notice

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a respondent receives service of notice of an application for a protective order within 48 hours before the time set for the hearing, on request by the respondent, the court shall reschedule the hearing for a date not later than 14 days after the date set for the hearing.(b) The respondent is not entitled to additional service for a hearing rescheduled under this section.

84.005. Legislative Continuance

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If a proceeding for which a legislative continuance is sought under Section 30.003, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, includes an application for a protective order, the continuance is discretionary with the court.

Chapter 85. Issuance of Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. Findings and Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

85.001. Required Findings and Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) At the close of a hearing on an application for a protective order, the court shall find whether:

(1) family violence has occurred; and

(2) family violence is likely to occur in the future.

(b) If the court finds that family violence has occurred and that family violence is likely to occur in the future, the court:

(1) shall render a protective order as provided by Section 85.022 applying only to a person found to have committed family violence; and

(2) may render a protective order as provided by Section 85.021 applying to both parties that is in the best interest of the person protected by the order or member of the family or household of the person protected by the order.

(c) A protective order that requires the first applicant to do or refrain from doing an act under Section 85.022 shall include a finding that the first applicant has committed family violence and is likely to commit family violence in the future.

(d) If the court renders a protective order for a period of more than two years, the court must include in the order a finding described by Section 85.025(a-1).

85.002. Exception for Violation of Expired Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If the court finds that a respondent violated a protective order by committing an act prohibited by the order as provided by Section 85.022, that the order was in effect at the time of the violation, and that the order has expired after the date that the violation occurred, the court, without the necessity of making the findings described by Section 85.001(a), shall render a protective order as provided by Section 85.022 applying only to the respondent and may render a protective order as provided by Section 85.021.

85.003. Separate Protective Orders Required

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court that renders separate protective orders that apply to both parties and require both parties to do or refrain from doing acts under Section 85.022 shall render two distinct and separate protective orders in two separate documents that reflect the appropriate conditions for each party.(b) A court that renders protective orders that apply to both parties and require both parties to do or refrain from doing acts under Section 85.022 shall render the protective orders in two separate documents. The court shall provide one of the documents to the applicant and the other document to the respondent.(c) A court may not render one protective order under Section 85.022 that applies to both parties.

85.004. Protective Order in Suit for Dissolution of Marriage

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A protective order in a suit for dissolution of a marriage must be in a separate document entitled “PROTECTIVE ORDER.”

85.005. Agreed Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) To facilitate settlement, the parties to a proceeding may agree in writing to the terms of a protective order as provided by Section 85.021. An agreement under this subsection is subject to the approval of the court.(b) To facilitate settlement, a respondent may agree in writing to the terms of a protective order as provided by Section 85.022, subject to the approval of the court. The court may not approve an agreement that requires the applicant to do or refrain from doing an act under Section 85.022.. The agreed order is enforceable civilly or criminally.(c) If the court approves an agreement between the parties, the court shall render an agreed protective order that is in the best interest of the applicant, the family or household, or a member of the family or household.(d) An agreed protective order is not enforceable as a contract.(e) An agreed protective order expires on the date the court order expires.

85.006. Default Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court may render a protective order that is binding on a respondent who does not attend a hearing if the respondent received service of the application and notice of the hearing.(b) If the court reschedules the hearing under Chapter 84, a protective order may be rendered if the respondent does not attend the rescheduled hearing.

85.007. Confidentiality of Certain Information

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On request by a person protected by an order or member of the family or household of a person protected by an order, the court may exclude from a protective order the address and telephone number of:
(1) a person protected by the order, in which case the order shall state the county in which the person resides;
(2) the place of employment or business of a person protected by the order; or
(3) the child-care facility or school a child protected by the order attends or in which the child resides.
(b) On granting a request for confidentiality under this section, the court shall order the clerk to:
(1) strike the information described by Subsection (a) from the public records of the court; and
(2) maintain a confidential record of the information for use only by:
(A) the court; or
(B) a law enforcement agency for purposes of entering the information required by Section 411.042(b)(6), Government Code, into the statewide law enforcement information system maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

85.009. Order Valid Until Superseded

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A protective order rendered under this chapter is valid and enforceable pending further action by the court that rendered the order until the order is properly superseded by another court with jurisdiction over the order.

Subchapter B. Contents of Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

85.021. Requirements of Order Applying to Any Party

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In a protective order, the court may:

(1) prohibit a party from:

(A) removing a child who is a member of the family or household from:

(i) the possession of a person named in the order; or

(ii) the jurisdiction of the court;

(B) transferring, encumbering, or otherwise disposing of property, other than in the ordinary course of business, that is mutually owned or leased by the parties; or

(C) removing a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal, as defined by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code, from the possession or actual or constructive care of a person named in the order;

(2) grant exclusive possession of a residence to a party and, if appropriate, direct one or more parties to vacate the residence if the residence:

(A) is jointly owned or leased by the party receiving exclusive possession and a party being denied possession;

(B) is owned or leased by the party retaining possession; or

(C) is owned or leased by the party being denied possession and that party has an obligation to support the party or a child of the party granted possession of the residence;

(3) provide for the possession of and access to a child of a party if the person receiving possession of or access to the child is a parent of the child;

(4) require the payment of support for a party or for a child of a party if the person required to make the payment has an obligation to support the other party or the child; or

(5) award to a party the use and possession of specified property that is community property or jointly owned or leased property.

85.022. Requirements of Order Applying to Person Who Committed Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a protective order, the court may order the person found to have committed family violence to perform acts specified by the court that the court determines are necessary or appropriate to prevent or reduce the likelihood of family violence and may order that person to:

(1) complete a battering intervention and prevention program accredited under Article 42.141, Code of Criminal Procedure;

(2) beginning on September 1, 2008, if the referral option under Subdivision (1) is not available, complete a program or counsel with a provider that has begun the accreditation process described by Subsection (a-1); or

(3) if the referral option under Subdivision (1) or, beginning on September 1, 2008, the referral option under Subdivision (2) is not available, counsel with a social worker, family service agency, physician, psychologist, licensed therapist, or licensed professional counselor who has completed family violence intervention training that the community justice assistance division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has approved, after consultation with the licensing authorities described by Chapters 152, 501, 502, 503, and 505, Occupations Code, and experts in the field of family violence.

(a-1) Beginning on September 1, 2009, a program or provider serving as a referral option for the courts under Subsection (a)(1) or (2) must be accredited under Section 4A, Article 42.141, Code of Criminal Procedure, as conforming to program guidelines under that article.

(b) In a protective order, the court may prohibit the person found to have committed family violence from:

(1) committing family violence;

(2) communicating:

(A) directly with a person protected by an order or a member of the family or household of a person protected by an order, in a threatening or harassing manner;

(B) a threat through any person to a person protected by an order or a member of the family or household of a person protected by an order; and

(C) if the court finds good cause, in any manner with a person protected by an order or a member of the family or household of a person protected by an order, except through the party’s attorney or a person appointed by the court;

(3) going to or near the residence or place of employment or business of a person protected by an order or a member of the family or household of a person protected by an order;

(4) going to or near the residence, child-care facility, or school a child protected under the order normally attends or in which the child normally resides;

(5) engaging in conduct directed specifically toward a person who is a person protected by an order or a member of the family or household of a person protected by an order, including following the person, that is reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass the person;

(6) possessing a firearm, unless the person is a peace officer, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision; and

(7) harming, threatening, or interfering with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal, as defined by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code, that is possessed by or is in the actual or constructive care of a person protected by an order or by a member of the family or household of a person protected by an order.

(c) In an order under Subsection (b)(3) or (4), the court shall specifically describe each prohibited location and the minimum distances from the location, if any, that the party must maintain. This subsection does not apply to an order in which Section 85.007 applies.

(d) In a protective order, the court shall suspend a license to carry a handgun issued under Subchapter H, [FN1] Chapter 411, Government Code, that is held by a person found to have committed family violence.

(e) In this section, “firearm” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.01, Penal Code.

85.023. Effect on Property Rights

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A protective order or an agreement approved by the court under this subtitle does not affect the title to real property.

85.024. Enforcement of Counseling Requirement

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person found to have engaged in family violence who is ordered to attend a program or counseling under Section 85.022(a)(1), (2), or (3) shall file with the court an affidavit before the 60th day after the date the order was rendered stating either that the person has begun the program or counseling or that a program or counseling is not available within a reasonable distance from the person’s residence. A person who files an affidavit that the person has begun the program or counseling shall file with the court before the date the protective order expires a statement that the person completed the program or counseling not later than the 30th day before the expiration date of the protective order or the 30th day before the first anniversary of the date the protective order was issued, whichever date is earlier. An affidavit under this subsection must be accompanied by a letter, notice, or certificate from the program or counselor that verifies the person’s completion of the program or counseling. A person who fails to comply with this subsection may be punished for contempt of court under Section 21.002, Government Code.

(b) A protective order under Section 85.022 must specifically advise the person subject to the order of the requirement of this section and the possible punishment if the person fails to comply with the requirement.

85.025. Duration of Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, an order under this subtitle is effective:
(1) for the period stated in the order, not to exceed two years; or
(2) if a period is not stated in the order, until the second anniversary of the date the order was issued.
(a-1) The court may render a protective order sufficient to protect the applicant and members of the applicant’s family or household that is effective for a period that exceeds two years if the court finds that the person who is the subject of the protective order:
(1) committed an act constituting a felony offense involving family violence against the applicant or a member of the applicant’s family or household, regardless of whether the person has been charged with or convicted of the offense;
(2) caused serious bodily injury to the applicant or a member of the applicant’s family or household; or
(3) was the subject of two or more previous protective orders rendered:
(A) to protect the person on whose behalf the current protective order is sought; and
(B) after a finding by the court that the subject of the protective order:
(i) has committed family violence; and
(ii) is likely to commit family violence in the future.
(b) A person who is the subject of a protective order may file a motion not earlier than the first anniversary of the date on which the order was rendered requesting that the court review the protective order and determine whether there is a continuing need for the order.
(b-1) Following the filing of a motion under Subsection (b), a person who is the subject of a protective order issued under Subsection (a-1) that is effective for a period that exceeds two years may file not more than one subsequent motion requesting that the court review the protective order and determine whether there is a continuing need for the order. The subsequent motion may not be filedearlier than the first anniversary of the date on which the court rendered an order on the previous motion by the person.
(b-2) After a hearing on a motion under Subsection (b) or (b-1), if the court does not make a finding that there is no continuing need for the protective order, the protective order remains in effect until the date the order expires under this section. Evidence of the movant’s compliance with the protective order does not by itself support a finding by the court that there is no continuing need for the protective order. If the court finds there is no continuing need for the protective order, the court shall order that the protective order expires on a date set by the court.
(b-3) Subsection (b) does not apply to a protective order issued under Chapter 7A, Code of Criminal Procedure.
(c) If a person who is the subject of a protective order is confined or imprisoned on the date the protective order would expire under Subsection (a) or (a-1), or if the protective order would expire not later than the first anniversary of the date the person is released from confinement or imprisonment, the period for which the order is effective is extended, and the order expires on:
(1) the first anniversary of the date the person is released from confinement or imprisonment, if the person was sentenced to confinement or imprisonment for more than five years; or
(2) the second anniversary of the date the person is released from confinement or imprisonment, if the person was sentenced to confinement or imprisonment for five years or less.

85.026. Warning on Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Each protective order issued under this subtitle, including a temporary ex parte order, must contain the following prominently displayed statements in boldfaced type, capital letters, or underlined:

“A PERSON WHO VIOLATES THIS ORDER MAY BE PUNISHED FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT BY A FINE OF AS MUCH AS $500 OR BY CONFINEMENT IN JAIL FOR AS LONG AS SIX MONTHS, OR BOTH.”

NO PERSON, INCLUDING A PERSON WHO IS PROTECTED BY THIS ORDER, MAY GIVE PERMISSION TO ANYONE TO IGNORE OR VIOLATE ANY PROVISION OF THIS ORDER. DURING THE TIME IN WHICH THIS ORDER IS VALID, EVERY PROVISION OF THIS ORDER IS IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT UNLESS A COURT CHANGES THE ORDER.”

IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON, OTHER THAN A PEACE OFFICER, AS DEFINED BY SECTION 1.07, PENAL CODE, ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN EMPLOYMENT AS A SWORN, FULL-TIME PAID EMPLOYEE OF A STATE AGENCY OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, WHO IS SUBJECT TO A PROTECTIVE ORDER TO POSSESS A FIREARM OR AMMUNITION.”

“A VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER BY COMMISSION OF AN ACT PROHIBITED BY THE ORDER MAY BE PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF AS MUCH AS $4,000 OR BY CONFINEMENT IN JAIL FOR AS LONG AS ONE YEAR, OR BOTH. AN ACT THAT RESULTS IN FAMILY VIOLENCE MAY BE PROSECUTED AS A SEPARATE MISDEMEANOR OR FELONY OFFENSE. IF THE ACT IS PROSECUTED AS A SEPARATE FELONY OFFENSE, IT IS PUNISHABLE BY CONFINEMENT IN PRISON FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS.”

(b) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., ch. 632 (S.B. 819), § 6(2).

(c) Each protective order issued under this subtitle, including a temporary ex parte order, must contain the following prominently displayed statement in boldfaced type, capital letters, or underlined:

NO PERSON, INCLUDING A PERSON WHO IS PROTECTED BY THIS ORDER, MAY GIVE PERMISSION TO ANYONE TO IGNORE OR VIOLATE ANY PROVISION OF THIS ORDER. DURING THE TIME IN WHICH THIS ORDER IS VALID, EVERY PROVISION OF THIS ORDER IS IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT UNLESS A COURT CHANGES THE ORDER.”

Subchapter C. Delivery of Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

85.041. Delivery to Respondent

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A protective order rendered under this subtitle shall be:

(1) delivered to the respondent as provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure;

(2) served in the same manner as a writ of injunction; or

(3) served in open court at the close of the hearing as provided by this section.

(b) The court shall serve an order in open court to a respondent who is present at the hearing by giving to the respondent a copy of the order, reduced to writing and signed by the judge or master. A certified copy of the signed order shall be given to the applicant at the time the order is given to the respondent. If the applicant is not in court at the conclusion of the hearing, the clerk of the court shall mail a certified copy of the order to the applicant not later than the third business day after the date the hearing is concluded.(c) If the order has not been reduced to writing, the court shall give notice orally to a respondent who is present at the hearing of the part of the order that contains prohibitions under Section 85.022 or any other part of the order that contains provisions necessary to prevent further family violence. The clerk of the court shall mail a copy of the order to the respondent and a certified copy of the order to the applicant not later than the third business day after the date the hearing is concluded.(d) If the respondent is not present at the hearing and the order has been reduced to writing at the conclusion of the hearing, the clerk of the court shall immediately provide a certified copy of the order to the applicant and mail a copy of the order to the respondent not later than the third business day after the date the hearing is concluded.

85.042. Delivery of Order to Other Persons

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Not later than the next business day after the date the court issues an original or modified protective order under this subtitle, the clerk of the court shall send a copy of the order, along with the information provided by the applicant or the applicant’s attorney that is required under Section 411.042(b)(6), Government Code, to:

(1) the chief of police of the municipality in which the person protected by the order resides, if the person resides in a municipality;

(2) the appropriate constable and the sheriff of the county in which the person resides, if the person does not reside in a municipality; and

(3) the Title IV-D agency, if the application for the protective order indicates that the applicant is receiving services from the Title IV-D agency.

(a-1) This subsection applies only if the respondent, at the time of issuance of an original or modified protective order under this subtitle, is a member of the state military forces or is serving in the armed forces of the United States in an active-duty status and the applicant or the applicant’s attorney provides to the clerk of the court the mailing address of the staff judge advocate or provost marshal, as applicable. In addition to complying with Subsection (a), the clerk of the court shall also provide a copy of the protective order and the information described by that subsection to the staff judge advocate at Joint Force Headquarters or the provost marshal of the military installation to which the respondent is assigned with the intent that the commanding officer will be notified, as applicable.

(b) If a protective order made under this chapter prohibits a respondent from going to or near a child-care facility or school, the clerk of the court shall send a copy of the order to the child-care facility or school.

(c) The clerk of a court that vacates an original or modified protective order under this subtitle shall notify each individual or entity who received a copy of the original or modified order from the clerk under this section that the order is vacated.

(d) The applicant or the applicant’s attorney shall provide to the clerk of the court:

(1) the name and address of each law enforcement agency, child-care facility, school, and other individual or entity to which the clerk is required to send a copy of the order under this section; and

(2) any other information required under Section 411.042(b)(6), Government Code.

(e) The clerk of the court issuing an original or modified protective order under Section 85.022 that suspends a license to carry ahandgun shall send a copy of the order to the appropriate division of the Department of Public Safety at its Austin headquarters. On receipt of the order suspending the license, the department shall:

(1) record the suspension of the license in the records of the department;

(2) report the suspension to local law enforcement agencies, as appropriate; and

(3) demand surrender of the suspended license from the license holder.

(f) A clerk of the court may transmit the order and any related information electronically or in another manner that can be accessed by the recipient.

(g) A clerk of the court may delay sending a copy of the order under Subsection (a) only if the clerk lacks information necessary to ensure service and enforcement.

(h) In this section, “business day” means a day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or state or national holiday.

Subchapter D. Relationship Between Protective Order and Suit for Dissolution of Marriage and Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

85.061. Dismissal of Application Prohibited; Subsequently Filed Suit for Dissolution of Marriage or Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If an application for a protective order is pending, a court may not dismiss the application or delay a hearing on the application on the grounds that a suit for dissolution of marriage or suit affecting the parent-child relationship is filed after the date the application was filed.

85.062. Application Filed While Suit for Dissolution of Marriage or Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship Pending

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a suit for dissolution of a marriage or suit affecting the parent-child relationship is pending, a party to the suit may apply for a protective order against another party to the suit by filing an application:

(1) in the court in which the suit is pending; or

(2) in a court in the county in which the applicant resides if the applicant resides outside the jurisdiction of the court in which the suit is pending.

(b) An applicant subject to this section shall inform the clerk of the court that renders a protective order that a suit for dissolution of a marriage or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship is pending in which the applicant is party.(c) If a final protective order is rendered by a court other than the court in which a suit for dissolution of a marriage or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship is pending, the clerk of the court that rendered the protective order shall:

(1) inform the clerk of the court in which the suit is pending that a final protective order has been rendered; and

(2) forward a copy of the final protective order to the court in which the suit is pending.

(d) A protective order rendered by a court in which an application is filed under Subsection (a)(2) is subject to transfer under Section 85.064.

85.063. Application Filed After Final Order Rendered in Suit for Dissolution of Marriage or Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a final order has been rendered in a suit for dissolution of marriage or suit affecting the parent-child relationship, an application for a protective order by a party to the suit against another party to the suit filed after the date the final order was rendered, and that is:

(1) filed in the county in which the final order was rendered, shall be filed in the court that rendered the final order; and

(2) filed in another county, shall be filed in a court having jurisdiction to render a protective order under this subtitle.

(b) A protective order rendered by a court in which an application is filed under Subsection (a)(2) is subject to transfer under Section 85.064.

85.064. Transfer of Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a protective order was rendered before the filing of a suit for dissolution of marriage or suit affecting the parent-child relationship or while the suit is pending as provided by Section 85.062, the court that rendered the order may, on the motion of a party or on the court’s own motion, transfer the protective order to the court having jurisdiction of the suit if the court makes the finding prescribed by Subsection (c).(b) If a protective order that affects a party’s right to possession of or access to a child is rendered after the date a final order was rendered in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, on the motion of a party or on the court’s own motion, the court may transfer the protective order to the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction if the court makes the finding prescribed by Subsection (c).(c) A court may transfer a protective order under this section if the court finds that the transfer is:

(1) in the interest of justice; or

(2) for the safety or convenience of a party or a witness.

(d) The transfer of a protective order under this section shall be conducted according to the procedures provided by Section 155.207.(e) Except as provided by Section 81.002, the fees or costs associated with the transfer of a protective order shall be paid by the movant.

85.065. Effect of Transfer

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., ch. 632 (S.B. 819), § 6(3).

(b) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., ch. 632 (S.B. 819), § 6(3).

(c) A protective order that is transferred is subject to modification by the court that receives the order to the same extent modification is permitted under Chapter 87 by a court that rendered the order.

Chapter 86. Law Enforcement Duties Relating to Protective Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

86.001. Adoption of Procedures by Law Enforcement Agency

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) To ensure that law enforcement officers responding to calls are aware of the existence and terms of protective orders issued under this subtitle, each law enforcement agency shall establish procedures in the agency to provide adequate information or access to information for law enforcement officers of the names of each person protected by an order issued under this subtitle and of each person against whom protective orders are directed.(b) A law enforcement agency may enter a protective order in the agency’s computer records of outstanding warrants as notice that the order has been issued and is currently in effect. On receipt of notification by a clerk of court that the court has vacated or dismissed an order, the law enforcement agency shall remove the order from the agency’s computer record of outstanding warrants.

Comment by TCFV: In 1995, the legislature directed the Department of Public Safety to establish a centralized protective order database that would promote statewide and national enforcement of protective orders granted by Texas courts. The registry is maintained as part of D.P.S.’ Texas Crime Information Center (T.C.I.C.), and is linked with the F.B.I.’s National Crime Information Center. The law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the protected person is charged with the duty of registering the order with T.C.I.C. See §85.042(a).
Five years after its creation, forty percent of counties in Texas had wholly failed to comply with the registration mandate. Because the original statute did not provide a timeframe for registration, many orders were not entered until weeks or even months after receipt. This 2001 amendment seeks to remedy this situation by setting out law enforcement agency’s duty in a standalone section and by requiring entry “immediately but no later than 10 days following the date the order is received.”

86.0011. Duty to Enter Information into Statewide Law Enforcement Information System

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On receipt of an original or modified protective order from the clerk of the issuing court, a law enforcement agency shall immediately, but not later than the third business day after the date the order is received, enter the information required by Section 411.042(b)(6), Government Code, into the statewide law enforcement information system maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

(b) In this section, “business day” means a day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or state or national holiday.

86.002. Duty to Provide Information to Firearms Dealers

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On receipt of a request for a law enforcement information system record check of a prospective transferee by a licensed firearms dealer under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 922, the chief law enforcement officer shall determine whether the Department of Public Safety has in the department’s law enforcement information system a record indicating the existence of an active protective order directed to the prospective transferee.(b) If the department’s law enforcement information system indicates the existence of an active protective order directed to the prospective transferee, the chief law enforcement officer shall immediately advise the dealer that the transfer is prohibited.

86.003. Court Order for Law Enforcement Assistance Under Temporary Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

On request by an applicant obtaining a temporary ex parte protective order that excludes the respondent from the respondent’s residence, the court granting the temporary order shall render a written order to the sheriff, constable, or chief of police to provide a law enforcement officer from the department of the chief of police, constable, or sheriff to:

(1) accompany the applicant to the residence covered by the order;(2) inform the respondent that the court has ordered that the respondent be excluded from the residence;(3) protect the applicant while the applicant takes possession of the residence; and

(4) protect the applicant if the respondent refuses to vacate the residence while the applicant takes possession of the applicant’s necessary personal property.

86.004. Court Order for Law Enforcement Assistance Under Final Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

On request by an applicant obtaining a final protective order that excludes the respondent from the respondent’s residence, the court granting the final order shall render a written order to the sheriff, constable, or chief of police to provide a law enforcement officer from the department of the chief of police, constable, or sheriff to:(1) accompany the applicant to the residence covered by the order;(2) inform the respondent that the court has ordered that the respondent be excluded from the residence;(3) protect the applicant while the applicant takes possession of the residence and the respondent takes possession of the respondent’s necessary personal property; and(4) if the respondent refuses to vacate the residence:

(A) remove the respondent from the residence; and

(B) arrest the respondent for violating the court order.

86.005. Protective Order From Another Jurisdiction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) To ensure that law enforcement officers responding to calls are aware of the existence and terms of a protective order from another jurisdiction, each law enforcement agency shall establish procedures in the agency to provide adequate information or access to information for law enforcement officers regarding the name of each person protected by an order rendered in another jurisdiction and of each person against whom the protective order is directed.

Chapter 87. Modification of Protective Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

87.001. Modification of Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

On the motion of any party, the court, after notice and hearing, may modify an existing protective order to:

(1) exclude any item included in the order; or

(2) include any item that could have been included in the order.

87.002. Modification May Not Extend Duration of Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A protective order may not be modified to extend the period of the order’s validity beyond the second anniversary of the date the original order was rendered or beyond the date the order expires under Section 85.025(a-1) or (c), whichever date occurs later.

87.003. Notification of Motion to Modify

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Notice of a motion to modify a protective order is sufficient if delivery of the motion is attempted on the respondent at the respondent’s last known address by registered or certified mail as provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

87.004. Change of Address or Telephone Number

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a protective order contains the address or telephone number of a person protected by the order, of the place of employment or business of the person, or of the child-care facility or school of a child protected by the order and that information is not confidential under Section 85.007, the person protected by the order may file a notification of change of address or telephone number with the court that rendered the order to modify the information contained in the order.(b) The clerk of the court shall attach the notification of change to the protective order and shall deliver a copy of the notification to the respondent by registered or certified mail as provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.(c) The filing of a notification of change of address or telephone number and the attachment of the notification to a protective order does not affect the validity of the order.

Chapter 88. Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Protective Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

88.001. Short Title.

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

This chapter may be cited as “Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.”

88.002. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this chapter: (1) “Foreign protective order” means a protective order issued by a tribunal of another state. (2) “Issuing state” means the state in which a tribunal issues a protective order.(3) “Mutual foreign protective order” means a foreign protective order that includes provisions issued in favor of both the protected individual seeking enforcement of the order and the respondent.(4) “Protected individual” means an individual protected by a protective order.(5) “Protective order” means an injunction or other order, issued by a tribunal under the domestic violence or family violence laws or other law of issuing state, to prevent an individual from engaging in violent or threatening acts against, harassing, contacting or communicating with, or being in physical proximity to another individual.(6) “Respondent” means the individual against whom enforcement of a protective order is sought.(7) “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or a territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United Sates. The term includes a military tribunal of the United States, an Indian tribe or band, and an Alaskan native village that has jurisdiction to issue protective orders.(8) “Tribunal” means a court, agency, or other entity authorized by law to issue or modify a protective order.

88.003. Judicial Enforcement of Order.

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A tribunal of this state shall enforce the terms of a foreign protective order, including a term that provides relief that a tribunal of this state would not have power to provide but for this section. The tribunal shall enforce the order regardless of whether the order was obtained by independent action or in another proceeding, if the order is an order issued in response to a complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of an individual seeking protection. In a proceeding to enforce a foreign protective order, the tribunal shall follow the procedures of this state for the enforcement of protective orders. (b) A tribunal of this state shall enforce the provisions of the foreign protective order that govern the possession of and access to a child if the provisions were issued in accordance with the jurisdictional requirements governing the issuance of possession and access orders in the issuing state. (c) A tribunal of this state may enforce a provision of the foreign protective order relating to child support if the order was issued in accordance with the jurisdictional requirements of Chapter 159 and the federal Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, 28 U.S.C. Section 1738B, as amended. (d) A foreign protective order is valid if the order:

(1) names the protected individual and the respondent;
(2) is currently in effect;
(3) was rendered by a tribunal that had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter under the law of the issuing state; and
(4) was rendered after the respondent was given reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard consistent with the right to due process, either:

(A) before the tribunal [that] issued the order; or
(B) in the case of an ex parte order, within a reasonable time after the order was rendered.

(e) A protected individual seeking enforcement of a foreign protective order establishes a prima facie case for its validity by presenting an order that is valid on its face. (f) It is an affirmative defense in an action seeking enforcement of a foreign protective order that the order does not meet the requirements for a valid order under Subsection (d). (g) A tribunal of this state may enforce the provisions of a mutual foreign protective order that favor a respondent only if:

(1) the respondent filed a written pleading seeking a protective order from the tribunal of the issuing state; and
(2) the tribunal of the issuing state made specific findings in favor of the respondent.

88.004. Nonjudicial Enforcement of Order.

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A law enforcement officer of this state, on determining that there is probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protective order exists and that the order has been violated , shall enforce the foreign protective order as if it were an order of a tribunal of this state. A law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a foreign protective order exists if the protected individual presents a foreign protective order that identifies both the protected individual and the respondent and on its face, is currently in effect.
(b) For the purposes of this section, a foreign protective order may be inscribed on a tangible medium or may be stored in an electronic or other medium if it is retrievable in a perceivable form. Presentation of a certified copy of a protective order is not required for enforcement.
(c) If a protected individual does not present a foreign protective order, a law enforcement officer may determine that there is probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protective order exists by relying on any relevant information.
(d) A law enforcement officer of this state who determines that an otherwise valid foreign protective order cannot be enforced because the respondent has not been notified or served with the order shall inform the respondent of the order and make a reasonable effort to serve the order on the respondent. After informing the respondent and attempting to serve the order, the officer shall allow the respondent a reasonable opportunity to comply with the order before enforcing the order.
(e) The registration or filing of an order in this state is not required for the enforcement of a valid foreign protective order under this chapter.


88.005. Registration of Order.

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) An individual may register a foreign protective order in this state. To register a foreign protective order, an individual shall:

(1) present a certified copy of the order to a sheriff, constable, or chief of police responsible for the registration of orders in the local computer records and in the statewide law enforcement system maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety; or
(2) present a certified copy of the order to the Department of Public Safety and request that the order be registered in the statewide law enforcement system maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

(b) On receipt of a foreign protective order, the agency responsible for the registration of protective orders shall register the order in accordance with this section and furnish to the individual registering the order a certified copy of the registered order. (c) The agency responsible for the registration of protective orders shall register a foreign protective order on presentation of a copy of a protective order that has been certified by the issuing state. A registered foreign protective order that is inaccurate or not currently in effect shall be corrected or removed from the registry in accordance with the law of the state. (d) An individual registering a foreign protective order shall file an affidavit made by the protected individual that, to the best of the protected individual’s knowledge, the order is in effect. (e) A foreign protective order registered under this section may be entered in any existing state or federal registry of protective orders, in accordance with state or federal law. (f) A fee may not be charged for the registration of a foreign protective order.


88.006. Immunity.

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A state or local governmental agency, law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney, clerk of court, or any state or local governmental official acting in an official capacity is immune from civil and criminal liability for an act or omission arising from the registration or enforcement of a foreign protective order to the detention or arrest of a person alleged to have violated a foreign protective order if the act or omission was done in good faith in an effort to comply with this chapter.

88.007. Other Remedies

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A protected individual who pursues a remedy under this chapter is not precluded from pursuing other legal or equitable remedies against the respondent.


88.008. Uniformity of Application and Construction.

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In applying and construing this chapter, consideration shall be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among the states that enact the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.

Subtitle C. Reporting Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 91. Reporting Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

91.001. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this subtitle:

(1) “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004.

(2) “Medical professional” means a licensed doctor, nurse, physician assistant, or emergency medical technician.

91.002. Reporting by Witnesses Encouraged

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A person who witnesses family violence is encouraged to report the family violence to a local law enforcement agency.

91.003. Information Provided by Medical Professionals

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A medical professional who treats a person for injuries that the medical professional has reason to believe were caused by family violence shall:

(1) immediately provide the person with information regarding the nearest family violence shelter center;(2) document in the person’s medical file:

(A) the fact that the person has received the information provided under Subdivision (1); and

(B) the reasons for the medical professional’s belief that the person’s injuries were caused by family violence; and

(3) give the person a written notice in substantially the following form, completed with the required information, in both English and Spanish:

“It is a crime for any person to cause you any physical injury or harm even if that person is a member or former member of your family or household.NOTICE TO ADULT VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE“You may report family violence to a law enforcement officer by calling the following telephone numbers: ____________________________________________________.“If you, your child, or any other household resident has been injured or if you feel you are going to be in danger after a law enforcement officer investigating family violence leaves your residence or at a later time, you have the right to:“Ask the local prosecutor to file a criminal complaint against the person committing family violence; and“Apply to a court for an order to protect you. You may want to consult with a legal aid office, a prosecuting attorney, or a private attorney. A court can enter an order that:“(1) prohibits the abuser from committing further acts of violence;“(2) prohibits the abuser from threatening, harassing, or contacting you at home;“(3) directs the abuser to leave your household; and“(4) establishes temporary custody of the children or any property.“A VIOLATION OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF COURT-ORDERED PROTECTION MAY BE A FELONY.

CALL THE FOLLOWING VIOLENCE SHELTERS OR SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS IF YOU NEED PROTECTION: _________________________________.”

(back to top)

91.004. Application of Subtitle

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

This subtitle does not affect a duty to report child abuse under Chapter 261.

Chapter 92. Immunity

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

92.001. Immunity

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person who reports family violence under Section 91.002 or provides information under Section 91.003 is immune from civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.(b) A person who reports the person’s own conduct or who otherwise reports family violence in bad faith is not protected from liability under this section.

Chapter 93. Confidential and Privileged Communications

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

93.002. Confidential Communications

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A written or oral communication between an advocate and a victim made in the course of advising, advocating for, counseling, or assisting the victim is confidential and may not be disclosed.

93.003. Privileged Communications

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A victim has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication described bySection 93.002.
(b) The privilege may be claimed by:
(1) a victim or a victim’s attorney on a victim’s behalf;
(2) a parent, guardian, or conservator of a victim under 18 years of age; or
(3) an advocate or a family violence center on a victim’s behalf.

93.004. Exceptions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A communication that is confidential under this chapter may be disclosed only:
(1) to another individual employed by or volunteering for a family violence center for the purpose of furthering the advocacy process;
(2) for the purpose of seeking evidence that is admissible under Article 38.49, Code of Criminal Procedure, following an in camera review and a determination that the communication is admissible under that article;
(3) to other persons in the context of a support group or group counseling in which a victim is a participant; or
(4) for the purposes of making a report under Chapter 261 of this code or Section 48.051, Human Resources Code.
(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the Texas Rules of Evidence govern the disclosure of a communication that is confidential under this chapter in a criminal or civil proceeding by an expert witness who relies on facts or data from the communication to form the basis of the expert’s opinion.
(c) If the family violence center, at the request of the victim, discloses a communication privileged under this chapter for the purpose of a criminal or civil proceeding, the family violence center shall disclose the communication to all parties to that criminal or civil proceeding.

Title 5. The Parent-Child Relationship and the Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subtitle A. General Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 101. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

101.0010. Acknowledged Father

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Acknowledged father” means a man who has established a father-child relationship under Chapter 160.

101.0015. Alleged Father

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) “Alleged father” means a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the genetic father or a possible genetic father of a child, but whose paternity has not been determined.

(b) The term does not include:

(1) a presumed father;

(2) a man whose parental rights have been terminated or declared to not exist; or

(3) a male donor.

101.003. Child or Minor; Adult

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) “Child” or “minor” means a person under 18 years of age who is not and has not been married or who has not had the disabilities of minority removed for general purposes.

(b) In the context of child support, “child” includes a person over 18 years of age for whom a person may be obligated to pay child support.

(c) “Adult” means a person who is not a child.

101.007. Clear and Convincing Evidence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Clear and convincing evidence” means the measure or degree of proof that will produce in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established.

101.009. Danger to Physical Health or Safety of Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Danger to the physical health or safety of a child” includes exposure of the child to loss or injury that jeopardizes the physical health or safety of the child without regard to whether there has been an actual prior injury to the child.

101.0125. Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004.

101.0145. Guardian Ad Litem

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Guardian ad litem” has the meaning assigned by Section 107.001.

101.016. Joint Managing Conservatorship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Joint managing conservatorship” means the sharing of the rights and duties of a parent by two parties, ordinarily the parents, even if the exclusive right to make certain decisions may be awarded to one party.

101.019. Managing Conservatorship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Managing conservatorship” means the relationship between a child and a managing conservator appointed by court order.

101.024. Parent

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) “Parent” means the mother, a man presumed to be the father, a man legally determined to be the father, a man who has been adjudicated to be the father by a court of competent jurisdiction, a man who has acknowledged his paternity under applicable law, or an adoptive mother or father. Except as provided by Subsection (b), the term does not include a parent as to whom the parent-child relationship has been terminated.

<Text of (b) effective until September 1, 2018>

(b) For purposes of establishing, determining the terms of, modifying, or enforcing an order, a reference in this title to a parent includes a person ordered to pay child support under Section 154.001(a-1) or to provide medical support for a child.

<Text of (b) effective September 1, 2018>

(b) For purposes of establishing, determining the terms of, modifying, or enforcing an order, a reference in this title to a parent includes a person ordered to pay child support under Section 154.001(a-1) or to provide medical support or dental support for a child.

101.025. Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Parent-child relationship” means the legal relationship between a child and the child’s parents as provided by Chapter 160. The term includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.

101.029. Standard Possession Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

“Standard possession order” means an order that provides a parent with rights of possession of a child in accordance with the terms and conditions of Subchapter F, Chapter 153. [FN1]

Chapter 102. Filing Suit

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

102.003. General Standing to File Suit

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) An original suit may be filed at any time by:

(1) a parent of the child;

(2) the child through a representative authorized by the court;

(3) a custodian or person having the right of visitation with or access to the child appointed by an order of a court of another state or country;

(4) a guardian of the person or of the estate of the child;

(5) a governmental entity;

(6) the Department of Family and Protective Services;

(7) a licensed child placing agency;

(8) a man alleging himself to be the father of a child filing in accordance with Chapter 160, subject to the limitations of that chapter, but not otherwise;

(9) a person, other than a foster parent, who has had actual care, control, and possession of the child for at least six months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition;

(10) a person designated as the managing conservator in a revoked or unrevoked affidavit of relinquishment under Chapter 161 or to whom consent to adoption has been given in writing under Chapter 162;

(11) a person with whom the child and the child’s guardian, managing conservator, or parent have resided for at least six months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition if the child’s guardian, managing conservator, or parent is deceased at the time of the filing of the petition;

(12) a person who is the foster parent of a child placed by the Department of Family and Protective Services in the person’s home for at least 12 months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition;

(13) a person who is a relative of the child within the third degree by consanguinity, as determined by Chapter 573, Government Code, if the child’s parents are deceased at the time of the filing of the petition;

(14) a person who has been named as a prospective adoptive parent of a child by a pregnant woman or the parent of the child, in a verified written statement to confer standing executed under Section 102.0035, regardless of whether the child has been born; or

(15) subject to Subsection (d), a person who is an intended parent of a child or unborn child under a gestational agreement that complies with the requirements of Section 160.754.

(b) In computing the time necessary for standing under Subsections (a)(9), (11), and (12), the court may not require that the time be continuous and uninterrupted but shall consider the child’s principal residence during the relevant time preceding the date of commencement of the suit.

(c) Notwithstanding the time requirements of Subsection (a)(12), a person who is the foster parent of a child may file a suit to adopt a child for whom the person is providing foster care at any time after the person has been approved to adopt the child. The standing to file suit under this subsection applies only to the adoption of a child who is eligible to be adopted.

(d) A person described by Subsection (a)(15) has standing to file an original suit only if:

(1) the person is filing an original suit jointly with the other intended parent under the gestational agreement; or(2) the person is filing an original suit against the other intended parent under the gestational agreement.

102.004. Standing for Grandparent or Other Person

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In addition to the general standing to file suit provided by Section 102.003, a grandparent, or another relative of the child related within the third degree by consanguinity, may file an original suit requesting managing conservatorship if there is satisfactory proof to the court that:
(1) the order requested is necessary because the child’s present circumstances would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development; or
(2) both parents, the surviving parent, or the managing conservator or custodian either filed the petition or consented to the suit.
(b) An original suit requesting possessory conservatorship may not be filed by a grandparent or other person. However, the court may grant a grandparent or other person, subject to the requirements of Subsection (b-1) if applicable, deemed by the court to have had substantial past contact with the child leave to intervene in a pending suit filed by a person authorized to do so under this chapter if there is satisfactory proof to the court that appointment of a parent as a sole managing conservator or both parents as joint managing conservators would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.
(b-1) A foster parent may only be granted leave to intervene under Subsection (b) if the foster parent would have standing to file an original suit as provided by Section 102.003(a)(12).
(c) Possession of or access to a child by a grandparent is governed by the standards established by Chapter 153.

102.0045. Standing for Sibling

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The sibling of a child may file an original suit requesting access to the child as provided by Section 153.551 if the sibling is at least 18 years of age.

(a-1) The sibling of a child who is separated from the sibling as the result of an action by the Department of Family and Protective Services may file an original suit as provided by Section 153.551 requesting access to the child, regardless of the age of the sibling. A court shall expedite a suit filed under this subsection.

(b) Access to a child by a sibling of the child is governed by the standards established by Section 153.551.

Chapter 103. Venue and Transfer of Original Proceedings

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

103.001. Venue for Original Suit

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this title, an original suit shall be filed in the county where the child resides, unless:

(1) another court has continuing exclusive jurisdiction under Chapter 155; or

(2) venue is fixed in a suit for dissolution of a marriage under Subchapter D,1 Chapter 6.

(b) A suit in which adoption is requested may be filed in the county where the child resides or in the county where the petitioners reside, regardless of whether another court has continuing exclusive jurisdiction under Chapter 155. A court that has continuing exclusive jurisdiction is not required to transfer the suit affecting the parent-child relationship to the court in which the adoption suit is filed.

(c) A child resides in the county where the child’s parents reside or the child’s parent resides, if only one parent is living, except that:

(1) if a guardian of the person has been appointed by order of a county or probate court and a managing conservator has not been appointed, the child resides in the county where the guardian of the person resides;

(2) if the parents of the child do not reside in the same county and if a managing conservator, custodian, or guardian of the person has not been appointed, the child resides in the county where the parent having actual care, control, and possession of the child resides;

(3) if the child is in the care and control of an adult other than a parent and a managing conservator, custodian, or guardian of the person has not been appointed, the child resides where the adult having actual care, control, and possession of the child resides;

(4) if the child is in the actual care, control, and possession of an adult other than a parent and the whereabouts of the parent and the guardian of the person is unknown, the child resides where the adult having actual possession, care, and control of the child resides;

(5) if the person whose residence would otherwise determine venue has left the child in the care and control of the adult, the child resides where that adult resides;

(6) if a guardian or custodian of the child has been appointed by order of a court of another state or country, the child resides in the county where the guardian or custodian resides if that person resides in this state; or

(7) if it appears that the child is not under the actual care, control, and possession of an adult, the child resides where the child is found.

103.002. Transfer of Original Proceedings Within State

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If venue of a suit is improper in the court in which an original suit is filed and no other court has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of the suit, on the timely motion of a party other than the petitioner, the court shall transfer the proceeding to the county where venue is proper.

(b) On a showing that a suit for dissolution of the marriage of the child’s parents has been filed in another court, a court in which a suit is pending shall transfer the proceedings to the court where the dissolution of the marriage is pending.

(c) The procedures in Chapter 155 apply to a transfer of:

(1) an original suit under this section; or

(2) a suit for modification or a motion for enforcement under this title.

103.003. Transfer of Original Suit Within State when Party or Child Resides Outside State

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state in which an original suit is filed or in which a suit for child support is filed under Chapter 159 shall transfer the suit to the county of residence of the party who is a resident of this state if all other parties and children affected by the proceedings reside outside this state.

(b) If one or more of the parties affected by the suit reside outside this state and if more than one party or one or more children affected by the proceeding reside in this state in different counties, the court shall transfer the suit according to the following priorities:

(1) to the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction, if any;

(2) to the county of residence of the child, if applicable, provided that:

(A) there is no court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction; or

(B) the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction finds that neither a party nor a child affected by the proceeding resides in the county of the court of continuing jurisdiction; or

(3) if Subdivisions (1) and (2) are inapplicable, to the county most appropriate to serve the convenience of the resident parties, the witnesses, and the interest of justice.

(c) If a transfer of an original suit or suit for child support under Chapter 159 is sought under this section, Chapter 155 applies to the procedures for transfer of the suit.

Chapter 105. Settings, Hearings, and Orders

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

105.009. Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, including an action to modify an order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship providing for possession of or access to a child, the court may order the parties to the suit to attend a parent education and family stabilization course if the court determines that the order is in the best interest of the child.

(b) The parties to the suit may not be required to attend the course together. The court, on its own motion or the motion of either party, may prohibit the parties from taking the course together if there is a history of family violence in the marriage.

(c) A course under this section must be at least four hours, but not more than 12 hours, in length and be designed to educate and assist parents with regard to the consequences of divorce on parents and children. The course must include information on the following issues:

(1) the emotional effects of divorce on parents;

(2) the emotional and behavioral reactions to divorce by young children and adolescents;

(3) parenting issues relating to the concerns and needs of children at different development stages;

(4) stress indicators in young children and adolescents;

(5) conflict management;

(6) family stabilization through development of a coparenting relationship;

(7) the financial responsibilities of parenting;

(8) family violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse and neglect; and

(9) the availability of community services and resources.

(d) A course may not be designed to provide individual mental health therapy or individual legal advice.

(e) A course satisfies the requirements of this section if it is offered by:

(1) a mental health professional who has at least a master’s degree with a background in family therapy or parent education; or

(2) a religious practitioner who performs counseling consistent with the laws of this state or another person designated as a program counselor by a church or religious institution if the litigant so chooses.

(f) Information obtained in a course or a statement made by a participant to a suit during a course may not be considered in the adjudication of the suit or in any subsequent legal proceeding. Any report that results from participation in the course may not become a record in the suit unless the parties stipulate to the record in writing.

(g) The court may take appropriate action with regard to a party who fails to attend or complete a course ordered by the court under this section, including holding the party in contempt of court, striking pleadings, or invoking any sanction provided by Rule 215, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. [FN1] The failure or refusal by a party to attend or complete a course required by this section may not delay the court from rendering a judgment in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.

(h) The course required under this section may be completed by:

(1) personal instruction;

(2) videotape instruction;

(3) instruction through an electronic medium; or

(4) a combination of those methods.

(i) On completion of the course, the course provider shall issue a certificate of completion to each participant. The certificate must state:

(1) the name of the participant;

(2) the name of the course provider;

(3) the date the course was completed; and

(4) whether the course was provided by:

(A) personal instruction;

(B) videotape instruction;

(C) instruction through an electronic medium; or

(D) a combination of those methods.

(j) The county clerk in each county may establish a registry of course providers in the county and a list of locations at which courses are provided. The clerk shall include information in the registry identifying courses that are offered on a sliding fee scale or without charge.

(k) The court may not order the parties to a suit to attend a course under this section if the parties cannot afford to take the course. If the parties cannot afford to take a course, the court may direct the parties to a course that is offered on a sliding fee scale or without charge, if a course of that type is available. A party to a suit may not be required to pay more than $100 to attend a course ordered under this section.

(l) A person who has attended a course under this section may not be required to attend the course more than twice before the fifth anniversary of the date the person completes the course for the first time.

<Text of subsec. (m) as added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 916, § 6>

(m) A course under this section must be available in both English and Spanish.

<Text of subsec. (m) as added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 1171, § 3>

(m) A course under this section in a suit filed in a county with a population of more than two million that is adjacent to a county with a population of more than one million must be available in both English and Spanish.

Subtitle B. Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 151. Rights and Duties in Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

151.001. Rights and Duties of Parent

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A parent of a child has the following rights and duties:

(1) the right to have physical possession, to direct the moral and religious training, and to designate the residence of the child;

(2) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;

(3) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education;

(4) the duty, except when a guardian of the child’s estate has been appointed, to manage the estate of the child, including the right as an agent of the child to act in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government;

(5) except as provided by Section 264.0111, the right to the services and earnings of the child;

(6) the right to consent to the child’s marriage, enlistment in the armed forces of the United States, medical and dental care, and psychiatric, psychological, and surgical treatment;

(7) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;

(8) the right to receive and give receipt for payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse funds for the benefit of the child;

(9) the right to inherit from and through the child;

(10) the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education; and

(11) any other right or duty existing between a parent and child by virtue of law.

(b) The duty of a parent to support his or her child exists while the child is an unemancipated minor and continues as long as the child is fully enrolled in a secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma and complies with attendance requirements described by Section 154.002(a)(2).

(c) A parent who fails to discharge the duty of support is liable to a person who provides necessaries to those to whom support is owed.

(d) The rights and duties of a parent are subject to:

(1) a court order affecting the rights and duties;

(2) an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights; and

(3) an affidavit by the parent designating another person or agency to act as managing conservator.

(e) Only the following persons may use corporal punishment for the reasonable discipline of a child:

(1) a parent or grandparent of the child;

(2) a stepparent of the child who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child; and

(3) an individual who is a guardian of the child and who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child.

Chapter 152. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter B. General Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

152.101. Short Title

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

This chapter may be cited as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

152.102. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this chapter:

(1) “Abandoned” means left without provision for reasonable and necessary care or supervision.

(2) “Child” means an individual who has not attained 18 years of age.

(3) “Child custody determination” means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes permanent, temporary, initial, and modification orders. The term does not include an order relating to child support or another monetary obligation of an individual.

(4) “Child custody proceeding” means a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation, or enforcement under Subchapter D.

(5) “Commencement” means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.

(6) “Court” means an entity authorized under the law of a state to establish, enforce, or modify a child custody determination.

(7) “Home state” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with a parent or a person acting as a parent. A period of temporary absence of a parent or a person acting as a parent is part of the period.

(8) “Initial determination” means the first child custody determination concerning a particular child.

(9) “Issuing court” means the court that makes a child custody determination for which enforcement is sought under this chapter.

(10) “Issuing state” means the state in which a child custody determination is made.

(11) “Legal custody” means the managing conservatorship of a child.

(12) “Modification” means a child custody determination that changes, replaces, supersedes, or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the previous determination.

(13) “Person acting as a parent” means a person, other than a parent, who:

(A) has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for a period of six consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding; and

(B) has been awarded legal custody by a court or claims a right to legal custody under the law of this state.

(14) “Physical custody” means the physical care and supervision of a child.

(15) “Tribe” means an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan Native village, that is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

(16) “Visitation” means the possession of or access to a child.

(17) “Warrant” means an order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child.

152.103. Proceedings Governed by Other Law

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

This chapter does not govern an adoption proceeding or a proceeding pertaining to the authorization of emergency medical care for a child.

152.104. Application to Indian Tribes

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A child custody proceeding that pertains to an Indian child as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. Section 1901 et seq.) is not subject to this chapter to the extent that it is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.

(b) A court of this state shall treat a tribe as if it were a state of the United States for the purpose of applying this subchapter and Subchapter C.

(c) A child custody determination made by a tribe under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this chapter must be recognized and enforced under Subchapter D.

152.105. International Application of Chapter

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state shall treat a foreign country as if it were a state of the United States for the purpose of applying this subchapter and Subchapter C.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in Subsection (c), a child custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this chapter must be recognized and enforced under Subchapter D.

(c) A court of this state need not apply this chapter if the child custody law of a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.

(d) A record of all of the proceedings under this chapter relating to a child custody determination made in a foreign country or to the enforcement of an order for the return of the child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction shall be made by a court reporter or as provided by Section 201.009.

152.106. Effect of Child Custody Determination

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A child custody determination made by a court of this state that had jurisdiction under this chapter binds all persons who have been served in accordance with the laws of this state or notified in accordance with Section 152.108 or who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and who have been given an opportunity to be heard. As to those persons, the determination is conclusive as to all decided issues of law and fact except to the extent the determination is modified.

152.107. Priority

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If a question of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under this chapter is raised in a child custody proceeding, the question, upon request of a party, must be given priority on the calendar and handled expeditiously.

152.108. Notice to Persons Outside State

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction when a person is outside this state may be given in a manner prescribed by the law of this state for service of process or by the law of the state in which the service is made. Notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice but may be by publication if other means are not effective.

(b) Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by the law of this state or by the law of the state in which the service is made.

(c) Notice is not required for the exercise of jurisdiction with respect to a person who submits to the jurisdiction of the court.

152.109. Appearance and Limited Immunity

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A party to a child custody proceeding, including a modification proceeding, or a petitioner or respondent in a proceeding to enforce or register a child custody determination, is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this state for another proceeding or purpose solely by reason of having participated, or of having been physically present for the purpose of participating, in the proceeding.

(b) A person who is subject to personal jurisdiction in this state on a basis other than physical presence is not immune from service of process in this state. A party present in this state who is subject to the jurisdiction of another state is not immune from service of process allowed under the laws of that state.

(c) The immunity granted by Subsection (a) does not extend to civil litigation based on acts unrelated to the participation in a proceeding under this chapter committed by an individual while present in this state.

152.110. Communication Between Courts

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section, “record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(b) A court of this state may communicate with a court in another state concerning a proceeding arising under this chapter.

(c) The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the parties are not able to participate in the communication, they must be given the opportunity to present facts and legal arguments before a decision on jurisdiction is made.

(d) If proceedings involving the same parties are pending simultaneously in a court of this state and a court of another state, the court of this state shall inform the other court of the simultaneous proceedings. The court of this state shall request that the other court hold the proceeding in that court in abeyance until the court in this state conducts a hearing to determine whether the court has jurisdiction over the proceeding.

(e) Communication between courts on schedules, calendars, court records, and similar matters may occur without informing the parties. A record need not be made of the communication.

(f) Except as otherwise provided in Subsection (e), a record must be made of any communication under this section. The parties must be informed promptly of the communication and granted access to the record.

152.111. Taking Testimony in Another State

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In addition to other procedures available to a party, a party to a child custody proceeding may offer testimony of witnesses who are located in another state, including testimony of the parties and the child, by deposition or other means allowed in this state for testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the testimony of a person be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.

(b) A court of this state may permit an individual residing in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means before a designated court or at another location in that state. A court of this state shall cooperate with courts of other states in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.

(c) Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of this state by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.

152.112. Cooperation Between Courts; Preservation of Records

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to:

(1) hold an evidentiary hearing;

(2) order a person to produce or give evidence pursuant to procedures of that state;

(3) order that an evaluation be made with respect to the custody of a child involved in a pending proceeding;

(4) forward to the court of this state a certified copy of the transcript of the record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise presented, and any evaluation prepared in compliance with the request; and

(5) order a party to a child custody proceeding or any person having physical custody of the child to appear in the proceeding with or without the child.

(b) Upon request of a court of another state, a court of this state may hold a hearing or enter an order described in Subsection (a).

(c) Travel and other necessary and reasonable expenses incurred under Subsections (a) and (b) may be assessed against the parties according to the law of this state.

(d) A court of this state shall preserve the pleadings, orders, decrees, records of hearings, evaluations, and other pertinent records with respect to a child custody proceeding until the child attains 18 years of age. Upon appropriate request by a court or law enforcement official of another state, the court shall forward a certified copy of those records.

Subchapter C. Jurisdiction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

152.201. Initial Child Custody Jurisdiction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.204, a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:

(1) this state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state;

(2) a court of another state does not have jurisdiction under Subdivision (1), or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum under Section 152.207 or 152.208, and:

(A) the child and the child’s parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this state other than mere physical presence; and

(B) substantial evidence is available in this state concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships;

(3) all courts having jurisdiction under Subdivision (1) or (2) have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this state is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under Section 152.207 or 152.208; or

(4) no court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in Subdivision (1), (2), or (3).

(b) Subsection (a) is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child custody determination by a court of this state.

(c) Physical presence of, or personal jurisdiction over, a party or a child is not necessary or sufficient to make a child custody determination.

152.202. Exclusive Continuing Jurisdiction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.204, a court of this state which has made a child custody determination consistent with Section 152.201 or 152.203 has exclusive continuing jurisdiction over the determination until:

(1) a court of this state determines that neither the child, nor the child and one parent, nor the child and a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this state and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this state concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships; or

(2) a court of this state or a court of another state determines that the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in this state.

(b) A court of this state which has made a child custody determination and does not have exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under this section may modify that determination only if it has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under Section 152.201.

152.203. Jurisdiction to Modify Determination

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.204, a court of this state may not modify a child custody determination made by a court of another state unless a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under Section 152.201(a)(1) or (2) and:

(1) the court of the other state determines it no longer has exclusive continuing jurisdiction under Section 152.202 or that a court of this state would be a more convenient forum under Section 152.207; or

(2) a court of this state or a court of the other state determines that the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in the other state.

152.204. Temporary Emergency Jurisdiction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state has temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in this state and the child has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.

(b) If there is no previous child custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under this chapter and a child custody proceeding has not been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203, a child custody determination made under this section remains in effect until an order is obtained from a court of a state having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203. If a child custody proceeding has not been or is not commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203, a child custody determination made under this section becomes a final determination, if it so provides and this state becomes the home state of the child.

(c) If there is a previous child custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under this chapter, or a child custody proceeding has been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203, any order issued by a court of this state under this section must specify in the order a period that the court considers adequate to allow the person seeking an order to obtain an order from the state having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203. The order issued in this state remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other state within the period specified or the period expires.

(d) A court of this state which has been asked to make a child custody determination under this section, upon being informed that a child custody proceeding has been commenced in or a child custody determination has been made by a court of a state having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203, shall immediately communicate with the other court. A court of this state which is exercising jurisdiction pursuant to Sections 152.201 through 152.203, upon being informed that a child custody proceeding has been commenced in or a child custody determination has been made by a court of another state under a statute similar to this section shall immediately communicate with the court of that state to resolve the emergency, protect the safety of the parties and the child, and determine a period for the duration of the temporary order.

152.205. Notice; Opportunity to be Heard; Joinder

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Before a child custody determination is made under this chapter, notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with the standards of Section 152.108 must be given to all persons entitled to notice under the law of this state as in child custody proceedings between residents of this state, any parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated, and any person having physical custody of the child.

(b) This chapter does not govern the enforceability of a child custody determination made without notice or an opportunity to be heard.

(c) The obligation to join a party and the right to intervene as a party in a child custody proceeding under this chapter are governed by the law of this state as in child custody proceedings between residents of this state.

152.206. Simultaneous Proceedings

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.204, a court of this state may not exercise its jurisdiction under this subchapter if, at the time of the commencement of the proceeding, a proceeding concerning the custody of the child has been commenced in a court of another state having jurisdiction substantially in conformity with this chapter, unless the proceeding has been terminated or is stayed by the court of the other state because a court of this state is a more convenient forum under Section 152.207.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.204, a court of this state, before hearing a child custody proceeding, shall examine the court documents and other information supplied by the parties pursuant to Section 152.209. If the court determines that a child custody proceeding has been commenced in a court in another state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this chapter, the court of this state shall stay its proceeding and communicate with the court of the other state. If the court of the state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this chapter does not determine that the court of this state is a more appropriate forum, the court of this state shall dismiss the proceeding.

(c) In a proceeding to modify a child custody determination, a court of this state shall determine whether a proceeding to enforce the determination has been commenced in another state. If a proceeding to enforce a child custody determination has been commenced in another state, the court may:

(1) stay the proceeding for modification pending the entry of an order of a court of the other state enforcing, staying, denying, or dismissing the proceeding for enforcement;

(2) enjoin the parties from continuing with the proceeding for enforcement; or

(3) proceed with the modification under conditions it considers appropriate.

152.207. Inconvenient Forum

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state which has jurisdiction under this chapter to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum. The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon motion of a party, the court’s own motion, or request of another court.

(b) Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of this state shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(1) whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;

(2) the length of time the child has resided outside this state;

(3) the distance between the court in this state and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;

(4) the relative financial circumstances of the parties;

(5) any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;

(6) the nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including testimony of the child;

(7) the ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and

(8) the familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the pending litigation.

(c) If a court of this state determines that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, the court shall stay the proceedings upon condition that a child custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another designated state and may impose any other condition the court considers just and proper.

(d) A court of this state may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under this chapter if a child custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another proceeding while still retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.

152.208. Jurisdiction Declined by Reason of Conduct

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.204 or other law of this state, if a court of this state has jurisdiction under this chapter because a person seeking to invoke its jurisdiction has engaged in unjustifiable conduct, the court shall decline to exercise its jurisdiction unless:

(1) the parents and all persons acting as parents have acquiesced in the exercise of jurisdiction;

(2) a court of the state otherwise having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203 determines that this state is a more appropriate forum under Section 152.207; or

(3) no court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in Sections 152.201 through 152.203.

(b) If a court of this state declines to exercise its jurisdiction pursuant to Subsection (a), it may fashion an appropriate remedy to ensure the safety of the child and prevent a repetition of the unjustifiable conduct, including staying the proceeding until a child custody proceeding is commenced in a court having jurisdiction under Sections 152.201 through 152.203.

(c) If a court dismisses a petition or stays a proceeding because it declines to exercise its jurisdiction pursuant to Subsection (a), it shall assess against the party seeking to invoke its jurisdiction necessary and reasonable expenses including costs, communication expenses, attorney’s fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses, and child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees are sought establishes that the assessment would be clearly inappropriate. The court may not assess fees, costs, or expenses against this state unless authorized by law other than this chapter.

152.209. Information to be Submitted to Court

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (e) or unless each party resides in this state, in a child custody proceeding, each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child’s present address or whereabouts, the places where the child has lived during the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. The pleading or affidavit must state whether the party:

(1) has participated, as a party or witness or in any other capacity, in any other proceeding concerning the custody of or visitation with the child and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the date of the child custody determination, if any;

(2) knows of any proceeding that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings for enforcement and proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding; and

(3) knows the names and addresses of any person not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of those persons.

(b) If the information required by Subsection (a) is not furnished, the court, upon motion of a party or its own motion, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished.

(c) If the declaration as to any of the items described in Subsections (a)(1) through (3) is in the affirmative, the declarant shall give additional information under oath as required by the court. The court may examine the parties under oath as to details of the information furnished and other matters pertinent to the court’s jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.

(d) Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any proceeding in this or any other state that could affect the current proceeding.

(e) If a party alleges in an affidavit or a pleading under oath that the health, safety, or liberty of a party or child would be jeopardized by disclosure of identifying information, the information must be sealed and may not be disclosed to the other party or the public unless the court orders the disclosure to be made after a hearing in which the court takes into consideration the health, safety, or liberty of the party or child and determines that the disclosure is in the interest of justice.

152.210. Appearance of Parties and Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a child custody proceeding in this state, the court may order a party to the proceeding who is in this state to appear before the court in person with or without the child. The court may order any person who is in this state and who has physical custody or control of the child to appear in person with the child.

(b) If a party to a child custody proceeding whose presence is desired by the court is outside this state, the court may order that a notice given pursuant to Section 152.108 include a statement directing the party to appear in person with or without the child and informing the party that failure to appear may result in a decision adverse to the party.

(c) The court may enter any orders necessary to ensure the safety of the child and of any person ordered to appear under this section.

(d) If a party to a child custody proceeding who is outside this state is directed to appear under Subsection (b) or desires to appear personally before the court with or without the child, the court may require another party to pay reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses of the party so appearing and of the child.

Subchapter D. Enforcement

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

152.301. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this subchapter:

(1) “Petitioner” means a person who seeks enforcement of an order for return of a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or enforcement of a child custody determination.

(2) “Respondent” means a person against whom a proceeding has been commenced for enforcement of an order for return of a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or enforcement of a child custody determination.

152.302. Enforcement Under Hague Convention

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Under this subchapter a court of this state may enforce an order for the return of the child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction as if it were a child custody determination.

152.303. Duty to Enforce

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state shall recognize and enforce a child custody determination of a court of another state if the latter court exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity with this chapter or the determination was made under factual circumstances meeting the jurisdictional standards of this chapter and the determination has not been modified in accordance with this chapter.

(b) A court of this state may utilize any remedy available under other law of this state to enforce a child custody determination made by a court of another state. The remedies provided in this subchapter are cumulative and do not affect the availability of other remedies to enforce a child custody determination.

152.304. Temporary Visitation

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state which does not have jurisdiction to modify a child custody determination may issue a temporary order enforcing:

(1) a visitation schedule made by a court of another state; or

(2) the visitation provisions of a child custody determination of another state that does not provide for a specific visitation schedule.

(b) If a court of this state makes an order under Subsection (a)(2), the court shall specify in the order a period that it considers adequate to allow the petitioner to obtain an order from a court having jurisdiction under the criteria specified in Subchapter C. [FN1] The order remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other court or the period expires.

152.305. Registration of Child Custody Determination

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A child custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this state, with or without a simultaneous request for enforcement, by sending to the appropriate court in this state:

(1) a letter or other document requesting registration;

(2) two copies, including one certified copy, of the determination sought to be registered and a statement under penalty of perjury that to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person seeking registration the order has not been modified; and

(3) except as otherwise provided in Section 152.209, the name and address of the person seeking registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child custody determination sought to be registered.

(b) On receipt of the documents required by Subsection (a), the registering court shall:

(1) cause the determination to be filed as a foreign judgment, together with one copy of any accompanying documents and information, regardless of their form; and

(2) serve notice upon the persons named pursuant to Subsection (a)(3) and provide them with an opportunity to contest the registration in accordance with this section.

(c) The notice required by Subsection (b)(2) must state that:

(1) a registered determination is enforceable as of the date of the registration in the same manner as a determination issued by a court of this state;

(2) a hearing to contest the validity of the registered determination must be requested within 20 days after service of notice; and

(3) failure to contest the registration will result in confirmation of the child custody determination and preclude further contest of that determination with respect to any matter that could have been asserted.

(d) A person seeking to contest the validity of a registered order must request a hearing within 20 days after service of the notice. At that hearing, the court shall confirm the registered order unless the person contesting registration establishes that:

(1) the issuing court did not have jurisdiction under Subchapter C; [FN1]

(2) the child custody determination sought to be registered has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Subchapter C; or

(3) the person contesting registration was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of Section 152.108, in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which registration is sought.

(e) If a timely request for a hearing to contest the validity of the registration is not made, the registration is confirmed as a matter of law and the person requesting registration and all persons served must be notified of the confirmation.

(f) Confirmation of a registered order, whether by operation of law or after notice and hearing, precludes further contest of the order with respect to any matter that could have been asserted at the time of registration.

152.306. Enforcement of Registered Determination

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court of this state may grant any relief normally available under the law of this state to enforce a registered child custody determination made by a court of another state.

(b) A court of this state shall recognize and enforce, but may not modify, except in accordance with Subchapter C, [FN1] a registered child custody determination of a court of another state.

152.307. Simultaneous Proceedings

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If a proceeding for enforcement under this subchapter is commenced in a court of this state and the court determines that a proceeding to modify the determination is pending in a court of another state having jurisdiction to modify the determination under Subchapter C, the enforcing court shall immediately communicate with the modifying court. The proceeding for enforcement continues unless the enforcing court, after consultation with the modifying court, stays or dismisses the proceeding.

152.308. Expedited Enforcement of Child Custody Determination

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A petition under this subchapter must be verified. Certified copies of all orders sought to be enforced and of any order confirming registration must be attached to the petition. A copy of a certified copy of an order may be attached instead of the original.

(b) A petition for enforcement of a child custody determination must state:

(1) whether the court that issued the determination identified the jurisdictional basis it relied upon in exercising jurisdiction and, if so, what the basis was;

(2) whether the determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court whose decision must be enforced under this chapter and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;

(3) whether any proceeding has been commenced that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;

(4) the present physical address of the child and the respondent, if known;

(5) whether relief in addition to the immediate physical custody of the child and attorney’s fees is sought, including a request for assistance from law enforcement officials and, if so, the relief sought; and

(6) if the child custody determination has been registered and confirmed under Section 152.305, the date and place of registration.

(c) Upon the filing of a petition, the court shall issue an order directing the respondent to appear in person with or without the child at a hearing and may enter any order necessary to ensure the safety of the parties and the child. The hearing must be held on the next judicial day after service of the order unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first judicial day possible. The court may extend the date of hearing at the request of the petitioner.

(d) An order issued under Subsection (c) must state the time and place of the hearing and advise the respondent that at the hearing the court will award the petitioner immediate physical custody of the child and order the payment of fees, costs, and expenses under Section 152.312, and may schedule a hearing to determine whether further relief is appropriate, unless the respondent appears and establishes that:

(1) the child custody determination has not been registered and confirmed under Section 152.305 and that:

(A) the issuing court did not have jurisdiction under Subchapter C;

(B) the child custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Subchapter C; or

(C) the respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of Section 152.108, in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(2) the child custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under Section 152.305, but has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under Subchapter C.

152.309. Service of Petition and Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.311, the petition and order must be served, by any method authorized by the law of this state, upon the respondent and any person who has physical custody of the child.

152.310. Hearing and Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Unless the court issues a temporary emergency order pursuant to Section 152.204, upon a finding that a petitioner is entitled to immediate physical custody of the child, the court shall order that the petitioner may take immediate physical custody of the child unless the respondent establishes that:

(1) the child custody determination has not been registered and confirmed under Section 152.305 and that:

(A) the issuing court did not have jurisdiction under Subchapter C;

(B) the child custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under Subchapter C; or

(C) the respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of Section 152.108, in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(2) the child custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under Section 152.305 but has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under Subchapter C.

(b) The court shall award the fees, costs, and expenses authorized under Section 152.312 and may grant additional relief, including a request for the assistance of law enforcement officials, and set a further hearing to determine whether additional relief is appropriate.

(c) If a party called to testify refuses to answer on the ground that the testimony may be self-incriminating, the court may draw an adverse inference from the refusal.

(d) A privilege against disclosure of communications between spouses and a defense of immunity based on the relationship of husband and wife or parent and child may not be invoked in a proceeding under this subchapter.

152.311. Warrant to Take Physical Custody of Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Upon the filing of a petition seeking enforcement of a child custody determination, the petitioner may file a verified application for the issuance of a warrant to take physical custody of the child if the child is imminently likely to suffer serious physical harm or be removed from this state.

(b) If the court, upon the testimony of the petitioner or other witness, finds that the child is imminently likely to suffer serious physical harm or be removed from this state, it may issue a warrant to take physical custody of the child. The petition must be heard on the next judicial day after the warrant is executed unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first judicial day possible. The application for the warrant must include the statements required by Section 152.308(b).

(c) A warrant to take physical custody of a child must:

(1) recite the facts upon which a conclusion of imminent serious physical harm or removal from the jurisdiction is based;

(2) direct law enforcement officers to take physical custody of the child immediately;

(3) state the date for the hearing on the petition; and

(4) provide for the safe interim placement of the child pending further order of the court and impose conditions on placement of the child to ensure the appearance of the child and the child’s custodian .

(c-1) If the petition seeks to enforce a child custody determination made in a foreign country or an order for the return of the child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the court may place a child with a parent or family member in accordance with Subsection (c)(4) only if the parent or family member has significant ties to the jurisdiction of the court. If a parent or family member of the child does not have significant ties to the jurisdiction of the court, the court shall provide for the delivery of the child to the Department of Family and Protective Services in the manner provided for the delivery of a missing child by Section 262.007(c).

(d) The respondent must be served with the petition, warrant, and order immediately after the child is taken into physical custody.

(e) A warrant to take physical custody of a child is enforceable throughout this state. If the court finds on the basis of the testimony of the petitioner or other witness that a less intrusive remedy is not effective, it may authorize law enforcement officers to enter private property to take physical custody of the child. If required by exigent circumstances of the case, the court may authorize law enforcement officers to make a forcible entry at any hour.

(f) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., ch. 92 (S.B. 1490), § 4.

152.312. Costs, Fees, and Expenses

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court shall award the prevailing party, including a state, necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by or on behalf of the party, including costs, communication expenses, attorney’s fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses, and child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees or expenses are sought establishes that the award would be clearly inappropriate.

(b) The court may not assess fees, costs, or expenses against a state unless authorized by law other than this chapter.

152.313. Recognition and Enforcement

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A court of this state shall accord full faith and credit to an order issued by another state and consistent with this chapter which enforces a child custody determination by a court of another state unless the order has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Subchapter C. [FN1]

152.314. Accelerated Appeals

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

An appeal may be taken from a final order in a proceeding under this subchapter in accordance with accelerated appellate procedures in other civil cases. Unless the court enters a temporary emergency order under Section 152.204, the enforcing court may not stay an order enforcing a child custody determination pending appeal.

152.315. Role of Prosecutor or Public Official

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a case arising under this chapter or involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the prosecutor or other appropriate public official may take any lawful action, including resorting to a proceeding under this subchapter or any other available civil proceeding to locate a child, obtain the return of a child, or enforce a child custody determination if there is:

(1) an existing child custody determination;

(2) a request to do so from a court in a pending child custody proceeding;

(3) a reasonable belief that a criminal statute has been violated; or

(4) a reasonable belief that the child has been wrongfully removed or retained in violation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

(b) A prosecutor or appropriate public official acting under this section acts on behalf of the court and may not represent any party.

152.316. Role of Law Enforcement

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

At the request of a prosecutor or other appropriate public official acting under Section 152.315, a law enforcement officer may take any lawful action reasonably necessary to locate a child or a party and assist a prosecutor or appropriate public official with responsibilities under Section 152.315.

152.317. Costs and Expenses

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If the respondent is not the prevailing party, the court may assess against the respondent all direct expenses and costs incurred by the prosecutor or other appropriate public official and law enforcement officers under Section 152.315 or 152.316.

Chapter 153. Conservatorship, Possession, and Access

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

153.001. Public Policy

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The public policy of this state is to:

(1) assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;

(2) provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child; and

(3) encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

(b) A court may not render an order that conditions the right of a conservator to possession of or access to a child on the payment of child support.

153.002. Best Interest of Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.

153.003. No Discrimination Based on Sex or Marital Status

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court shall consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child in determining:

(1) which party to appoint as sole managing conservator;

(2) whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator; and

(3) the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.

153.004. History of Domestic Violence or Sexual Abuse

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In determining whether to appoint a party as a sole or joint managing conservator, the court shall consider evidence of the intentional use of abusive physical force, or evidence of sexual abuse, by a party directed against the party’s spouse, a parent of the child, or any person younger than 18 years of age committed within a two-year period preceding the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit.
(b) The court may not appoint joint managing conservators if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child, including a sexual assault in violation of Section 22.011 or 22.021, Penal Code, that results in the other parent becoming pregnant with the child. A history of sexual abuse includes a sexual assault that results in the other parent becoming pregnant with the child, regardless of the prior relationship of the parents. It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of a parent as the sole managing conservator of a child or as the conservator who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of a child is not in the best interest of the child if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by that parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child.
(c) The court shall consider the commission of family violence or sexual abuse in determining whether to deny, restrict, or limit the possession of a child by a parent who is appointed as a possessory conservator.
(d) The court may not allow a parent to have access to a child for whom it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that:
(1) there is a history or pattern of committing family violence during the two years preceding the date of the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit; or
(2) the parent engaged in conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code, and that as a direct result of the conduct, the victim of the conduct became pregnant with the parent’s child.
(d-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (d), the court may allow a parent to have access to a child if the court:
(1) finds that awarding the parent access to the child would not endanger the child’s physical health or emotional welfare and would be in the best interest of the child; and
(2) renders a possession order that is designed to protect the safety and well-being of the child and any other person who has been a victim of family violence committed by the parent and that may include a requirement that:
(A) the periods of access be continuously supervised by an entity or person chosen by the court;
(B) the exchange of possession of the child occur in a protective setting;
(C) the parent abstain from the consumption of alcohol or a controlled substance, as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, within 12 hours prior to or during the period of access to the child; or
(D) the parent attend and complete a battering intervention and prevention program as provided by Article 42.141, Code of Criminal Procedure, or, if such a program is not available, complete a course of treatment under Section 153.010.
(e) It is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interest of a child for a parent to have unsupervised visitation with the child if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or abuse or family violence by:
(1) that parent; or
(2) any person who resides in that parent’s household or who is permitted by that parent to have unsupervised access to the child during that parent’s periods of possession of or access to the child.
(f) In determining under this section whether there is credible evidence of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or abuse or family violence by a parent or other person, as applicable, the court shall consider whether a protective order was rendered under Chapter 85, Title 4,1 against the parent or other person during the two-year period preceding the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit.
(g) In this section:
(1) “Abuse” and “neglect” have the meanings assigned by Section 261.001.
(2) “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004.

153.005. Appointment of Sole or Joint Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a suit, except as provided by Section 153.004, the court:

(1) may appoint a sole managing conservator or may appoint joint managing conservators; and

(2) if the parents are or will be separated, shall appoint at least one managing conservator.

(b) A managing conservator must be a parent, a competent adult, the Department of Family and Protective Services , or a licensed child-placing agency.

(c) In making an appointment authorized by this section, the court shall consider whether, preceding the filing of the suit or during the pendency of the suit:

(1) a party engaged in a history or pattern of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004;

(2) a party engaged in a history or pattern of child abuse or child neglect; or

(3) a final protective order was rendered against a party.

153.006. Appointment of Possessory Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a managing conservator is appointed, the court may appoint one or more possessory conservators.

(b) The court shall specify the rights and duties of a person appointed possessory conservator.

(c) The court shall specify and expressly state in the order the times and conditions for possession of or access to the child, unless a party shows good cause why specific orders would not be in the best interest of the child.

153.007. Agreed Parenting Plan

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) To promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a suit, the parties may enter into a written agreed parenting plan containing provisions for conservatorship and possession of the child and for modification of the parenting plan, including variations from the standard possession order.

(b) If the court finds that the agreed parenting plan is in the child’s best interest, the court shall render an order in accordance with the parenting plan.

(c) Terms of the agreed parenting plan contained in the order or incorporated by reference regarding conservatorship or support of or access to a child in an order may be enforced by all remedies available for enforcement of a judgment, including contempt, but are not enforceable as a contract.

(d) If the court finds the agreed parenting plan is not in the child’s best interest, the court may request the parties to submit a revised parenting plan. If the parties do not submit a revised parenting plan satisfactory to the court, the court may, after notice and hearing, order a parenting plan that the court finds to be in the best interest of the child.

153.0071. Alternate Dispute Resolution Procedures

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On written agreement of the parties, the court may refer a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to arbitration. The agreement must state whether the arbitration is binding or non-binding.
(b) If the parties agree to binding arbitration, the court shall render an order reflecting the arbitrator’s award unless the court determines at a non-jury hearing that the award is not in the best interest of the child. The burden of proof at a hearing under this subsection is on the party seeking to avoid rendition of an order based on the arbitrator’s award.
(c) On the written agreement of the parties or on the court’s own motion, the court may refer a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to mediation.
(d) A mediated settlement agreement is binding on the parties if the agreement:
(1) provides, in a prominently displayed statement that is in boldfaced type or capital letters or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation;
(2) is signed by each party to the agreement; and
(3) is signed by the party’s attorney, if any, who is present at the time the agreement is signed.
(e) If a mediated settlement agreement meets the requirements of Subsection (d), a party is entitled to judgment on the mediated settlement agreement notwithstanding Rule 11, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, or another rule of law.
(e-1) Notwithstanding Subsections (d) and (e), a court may decline to enter a judgment on a mediated settlement agreement if the court finds:
(1) that:
(A) a party to the agreement was a victim of family violence, and that circumstance impaired the party’s ability to make decisions; or
(B) the agreement would permit a person who is subject to registration under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, on the basis of an offense committed by the person when the person was 17 years of age or older or who otherwise has a history or pattern of past or present physical or sexual abuse directed against any person to:
(i) reside in the same household as the child; or
(ii) otherwise have unsupervised access to the child; and
(2) that the agreement is not in the child’s best interest.
(f) A party may at any time prior to the final mediation order file a written objection to the referral of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to mediation on the basis of family violence having been committed by another party against the objecting party or a child who is the subject of the suit. After an objection is filed, the suit may not be referred to mediation unless, on the request of a party, a hearing is held and the court finds that a preponderance of the evidence does not support the objection. If the suit is referred to mediation, the court shall order appropriate measures be taken to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the party who filed the objection. The order shall provide that the parties not be required to have face-to-face contact and that the parties be placed in separate rooms during mediation. This subsection does not apply to suits filed under Chapter 262.
(g) The provisions for confidentiality of alternative dispute resolution procedures under Chapter 154, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, apply equally to the work of a parenting coordinator, as defined by Section 153.601, and to the parties and any other person who participates in the parenting coordination. This subsection does not affect the duty of a person to report abuse or neglect under Section 261.101.

153.009. Interview of Child in Chambers

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a nonjury trial or at a hearing, on the application of a party, the amicus attorney, or the attorney ad litem for the child, the court shall interview in chambers a child 12 years of age or older and may interview in chambers a child under 12 years of age to determine the child’s wishes as to conservatorship or as to the person who shall have the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. The court may also interview a child in chambers on the court’s own motion for a purpose specified by this subsection.

(b) In a nonjury trial or at a hearing, on the application of a party, the amicus attorney, or the attorney ad litem for the child or on the court’s own motion, the court may interview the child in chambers to determine the child’s wishes as to possession, access, or any other issue in the suit affecting the parent-child relationship.

(c) Interviewing a child does not diminish the discretion of the court in determining the best interests of the child.

(d) In a jury trial, the court may not interview the child in chambers regarding an issue on which a party is entitled to a jury verdict.

(e) In any trial or hearing, the court may permit the attorney for a party, the amicus attorney, the guardian ad litem for the child, or the attorney ad litem for the child to be present at the interview.

(f) On the motion of a party, the amicus attorney, or the attorney ad litem for the child, or on the court’s own motion, the court shall cause a record of the interview to be made when the child is 12 years of age or older. A record of the interview shall be part of the record in the case.

153.010. Order for Family Counseling

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If the court finds at the time of a hearing that the parties have a history of conflict in resolving an issue of conservatorship or possession of or access to the child, the court may order a party to:

(1) participate in counseling with a mental health professional who:

(A) has a background in family therapy;

(B) has a mental health license that requires as a minimum a master’s degree; and

(C) has training in domestic violence if the court determines that the training is relevant to the type of counseling needed; and

(2) pay the cost of counseling.

(b) If a person possessing the requirements of Subsection (a)(1) is not available in the county in which the court presides, the court may appoint a person the court believes is qualified to conduct the counseling ordered under Subsection (a).

153.011. Security Bond

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If the court finds that a person who has a possessory interest in a child may violate the court order relating to the interest, the court may order the party to execute a bond or deposit security. The court shall set the amount and condition the bond or security on compliance with the order.

153.012. Right to Privacy; Deletion of Personal Information in Records

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may order the custodian of records to delete all references in the records to the place of residence of either party appointed as a conservator of the child before the release of the records to another party appointed as a conservator.

153.013. False Report of Child Abuse

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a party to a pending suit affecting the parent-child relationship makes a report alleging child abuse by another party to the suit that the reporting party knows lacks a factual foundation, the court shall deem the report to be a knowingly false report.

(b) Evidence of a false report of child abuse is admissible in a suit between the involved parties regarding the terms of conservatorship of a child.

(c) If the court makes a finding under Subsection (a), the court shall impose a civil penalty not to exceed $500.

153.014. Visitation Centers and Visitation Exchange Facilities

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A county may establish a visitation center or a visitation exchange facility for the purpose of facilitating the terms of a court order providing for the possession of or access to a child.

153.015. Electronic Communication With Child by Conservator.

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section, “electronic communication” means any communication facilitated by the use of any wired or wireless technology via the Internet or any other electronic media. The term includes communication facilitated by the use of a telephone, electronic mail, instant messaging, videoconferencing, or webcam.

(b) If a conservator of a child requests the court to order periods of electronic communication with the child under this section, the court may award the conservator reasonable periods of electronic communication with the child to supplement the conservator’s periods of possession of the child. In determining whether to award electronic communication, the court shall consider:

(1) whether electronic communication is in the best interest of the child;

(2) whether equipment necessary to facilitate the electronic communication is reasonably available to all parties subject to the order; and

(3) any other factor the court considers appropriate.

(c) If a court awards a conservator periods of electronic communication with a child under this section, each conservator subject to the court’s order shall:

(1) provide the other conservator with the e-mail address and other electronic communication access information of the child;

(2) notify the other conservator of any change in the e-mail address or other electronic communication access information not later than 24 hours after the date the change takes effect; and

(3) if necessary equipment is reasonably available, accommodate electronic communication with the child, with the same privacy, respect, and dignity accorded all other forms of access, at a reasonable time and for a reasonable duration subject to any limitation provided by the court in the court’s order.

(d) The court may not consider the availability of electronic communication as a factor in determining child support. The availability of electronic communication under this section is not intended as a substitute for physical possession of or access to the child, where otherwise appropriate.

(e) In a suit in which the court’s order contains provisions related to a finding of family violence in the suit, including supervised visitation, the court may award periods of electronic communication under this section only if:

(1) the award and terms of the award are mutually agreed to by the parties; and

(2) the terms of the award:

(A) are printed in the court’s order in boldfaced, capitalized type; and

(B) include any specific restrictions relating to family violence or supervised visitation, as applicable, required by other law to be included in a possession or access order.

Subchapter B. Parent Appointed as Conservator: In General

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

153.071. Court to Specify Rights and Duties of Parent Appointed a Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If both parents are appointed as conservators of the child, the court shall specify the rights and duties of a parent that are to be exercised:

(1) by each parent independently;

(2) by the joint agreement of the parents; and

(3) exclusively by one parent.

153.072. Written Finding Required to Limit Parental Rights and Duties

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may limit the rights and duties of a parent appointed as a conservator if the court makes a written finding that the limitation is in the best interest of the child.

153.073. Rights of Parent at All Times

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has at all times the right:

(1) to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;

(2) to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;

(3) of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;

(4) to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;

(5) to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;

(6) to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips;

(7) to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;

(8) to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and

(9) to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent’s family.(b) The court shall specify in the order the rights that a parent retains at all times.

153.074. Rights and Duties During Period of Possession

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the following rights and duties during the period that the parent has possession of the child:

(1) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;

(2) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;

(3) the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and

(4) the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

153.075. Duties of Parent Not Appointed Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may order a parent not appointed as a managing or a possessory conservator to perform other parental duties, including paying child support.

153.076. Duty to Provide Information

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court shall order that each conservator of a child has a duty to inform the other conservator of the child in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

(b) The court shall order that each conservator of a child has the duty to inform the other conservator of the child if the conservator resides with for at least 30 days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the conservator knows:

(1) is registered as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure; or

(2) is currently charged with an offense for which on conviction the person would be required to register under that chapter.

(b-1) The court shall order that each conservator of a child has the duty to inform the other conservator of the child if the conservator:

(1) establishes a residence with a person who the conservator knows is the subject of a final protective order sought by an individual other than the conservator that is in effect on the date the residence with the person is established;

(2) resides with, or allows unsupervised access to a child by, a person who is the subject of a final protective order sought by the conservator after the expiration of the 60-day period following the date the final protective order is issued; or

(3) is the subject of a final protective order issued after the date of the order establishing conservatorship.

(c) The notice required to be made under Subsection (b) must be made as soon as practicable but not later than the 40th day after the date the conservator of the child begins to reside with the person or the 10th day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate. The notice must include a description of the offense that is the basis of the person’s requirement to register as a sex offender or of the offense with which the person is charged.

(c-1) The notice required to be made under Subsection (b-1) must be made as soon as practicable but not later than:

(1) the 30th day after the date the conservator establishes residence with the person who is the subject of the final protective order, if the notice is required by Subsection (b-1)(1);

(2) the 90th day after the date the final protective order was issued, if the notice is required by Subsection (b-1)(2); or

(3) the 30th day after the date the final protective order was issued, if the notice is required by Subsection (b-1)(3).

(d) A conservator commits an offense if the conservator fails to provide notice in the manner required by Subsections (b) and (c), or Subsections (b-1) and (c-1), as applicable. An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.

Subchapter C. Parent Appointed as Sole or Joint Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

153.131. Presumption That Parent to be Appointed Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Subject to the prohibition in Section 153.004, unless the court finds that appointment of the parent or parents would not be in the best interest of the child because the appointment would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development, a parent shall be appointed sole managing conservator or both parents shall be appointed as joint managing conservators of the child.

(b) It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child. A finding of a history of family violence involving the parents of a child removes the presumption under this subsection.

153.132. Rights and Duties of Parent Appointed Sole Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as sole managing conservator of a child has the rights and duties provided by Subchapter B1 and the following exclusive rights:

(1) the right to designate the primary residence of the child;

(2) the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures;

(3) the right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment;

(4) the right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child;

(5) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;

(6) the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States;

(7) the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education;

(8) the right to the services and earnings of the child;

(9) except when a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government; and

(10) the right to:

(A) apply for a passport for the child;

(B) renew the child’s passport; and

(C) maintain possession of the child’s passport.

153.133. Parenting Plan for Joint Managing Conservatorship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a written agreed parenting plan is filed with the court, the court shall render an order appointing the parents as joint managing conservators only if the parenting plan:

(1) designates the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child and:

(A) establishes, until modified by further order, the geographic area within which the conservator shall maintain the child’s primary residence; or

(B) specifies that the conservator may designate the child’s primary residence without regard to geographic location;

(2) specifies the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child’s physical care, support, and education;

(3) includes provisions to minimize disruption of the child’s education, daily routine, and association with friends;

(4) allocates between the parents, independently, jointly, or exclusively, all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent provided by Chapter 151 [FN1];

(5) is voluntarily and knowingly made by each parent and has not been repudiated by either parent at the time the order is rendered; and

(6) is in the best interest of the child.

(b) The agreed parenting plan may contain an alternative dispute resolution procedure that the parties agree to use before requesting enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the joint conservatorship through litigation, except in an emergency.

(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (a)(1), the court shall render an order adopting the provisions of a written agreed parenting plan appointing the parents as joint managing conservators if the parenting plan:

(1) meets all the requirements of Subsections (a)(2) through (6); and

(2) provides that the child’s primary residence shall be within a specified geographic area.

153.134. Court-Ordered Joint Conservatorship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a written agreed parenting plan is not filed with the court, the court may render an order appointing the parents joint managing conservators only if the appointment is in the best interest of the child, considering the following factors:

(1) whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from the appointment of joint managing conservators;

(2) the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;

(3) whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent;

(4) whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the suit;

(5) the geographical proximity of the parents’ residences;

(6) if the child is 12 years of age or older, the child’s preference, if any, regarding the person to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child; and

(7) any other relevant factor.

(b) In rendering an order appointing joint managing conservators, the court shall:

(1) designate the conservator who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child and:

(A) establish, until modified by further order, a geographic area within which the conservator shall maintain the child’s primary residence; or

(B) specify that the conservator may determine the child’s primary residence without regard to geographic location;

(2) specify the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child’s physical care, support, and education;

(3) include provisions to minimize disruption of the child’s education, daily routine, and association with friends;

(4) allocate between the parents, independently, jointly, or exclusively, all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent as provided by Chapter 151; and

(5) if feasible, recommend that the parties use an alternative dispute resolution method before requesting enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the joint conservatorship through litigation, except in an emergency.

153.135. Equal Possession Not Required

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Joint managing conservatorship does not require the award of equal or nearly equal periods of physical possession of and access to the child to each of the joint conservators.

153.138. Child Support Order Affecting Joint Conservators

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The appointment of joint managing conservators does not impair or limit the authority of the court to order a joint managing conservator to pay child support to another joint managing conservator.

Subchapter D. Parent Appointed as Possessory Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

153.191. Presumption that Parent to be Appointed Possessory Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court shall appoint as a possessory conservator a parent who is not appointed as a sole or joint managing conservator unless it finds that the appointment is not in the best interest of the child and that parental possession or access would endanger the physical or emotional welfare of the child.

153.192. Rights and Duties of Parent Appointed Possessory Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as possessory conservator of a child has the rights and duties provided by Subchapter B [FN1] and any other right or duty expressly granted to the possessory conservator in the order.

(b) In ordering the terms and conditions for possession of a child by a parent appointed possessory conservator, the court shall be guided by the guidelines in Subchapter E. [FN2]

153.193. Minimal Restriction on Parent's Possession or Access

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The terms of an order that denies possession of a child to a parent or imposes restrictions or limitations on a parent’s right to possession of or access to a child may not exceed those that are required to protect the best interest of the child.

Subchapter E. Guidelines for the Possession of a Child by a Parent Names as Possessory Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

153.251. Policy and General Application of Guidelines

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The guidelines established in the standard possession order are intended to guide the courts in ordering the terms and conditions for possession of a child by a parent named as a possessory conservator or as the minimum possession for a joint managing conservator.

(b) It is the policy of this state to encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent for periods of possession that optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship between each parent and child.

(c) It is preferable for all children in a family to be together during periods of possession.

(d) The standard possession order is designed to apply to a child three years of age or older.

153.252. Rebuttable Presumption

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In a suit, there is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order in Subchapter F: [FN1]

(1) provides reasonable minimum possession of a child for a parent named as a possessory conservator or joint managing conservator; and

(2) is in the best interest of the child.

153.253. Standard Possession Order Inappropriate or Unworkable

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court shall render an order that grants periods of possession of the child as similar as possible to those provided by the standard possession order if the work schedule or other special circumstances of the managing conservator, the possessory conservator, or the child, or the year-round school schedule of the child, make the standard order unworkable or inappropriate.

153.254. Child Less Than Three Years of Age

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court shall render an order appropriate under the circumstances for possession of a child less than three years of age. In rendering the order, the court shall consider evidence of all relevant factors, including:
(1) the caregiving provided to the child before and during the current suit;
(2) the effect on the child that may result from separation from either party;
(3) the availability of the parties as caregivers and the willingness of the parties to personally care for the child;
(4) the physical, medical, behavioral, and developmental needs of the child;
(5) the physical, medical, emotional, economic, and social conditions of the parties;
(6) the impact and influence of individuals, other than the parties, who will be present during periods of possession;
(7) the presence of siblings during periods of possession;
(8) the child’s need to develop healthy attachments to both parents;
(9) the child’s need for continuity of routine;
(10) the location and proximity of the residences of the parties;
(11) the need for a temporary possession schedule that incrementally shifts to the schedule provided in the prospective order under Subsection (d) based on:
(A) the age of the child; or
(B) minimal or inconsistent contact with the child by a party;
(12) the ability of the parties to share in the responsibilities, rights, and duties of parenting; and
(13) any other evidence of the best interest of the child.
(b) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., ch. 421 (S.B. 1237), § 12(1).
(c) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., ch. 421 (S.B. 1237), § 12(1).
(d) The court shall render a prospective order to take effect on the child’s third birthday, which presumptively will be the standard possession order.

153.255. Agreement

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may render an order for periods of possession of a child that vary from the standard possession order based on the agreement of the parties.

153.256. Factors for Court to Consider

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In ordering the terms of possession of a child under an order other than a standard possession order, the court shall be guided by the guidelines established by the standard possession order and may consider:

(1) the age, developmental status, circumstances, needs, and best interest of the child;

(2) the circumstances of the managing conservator and of the parent named as a possessory conservator; and

(3) any other relevant factor.

153.257. Means of Travel

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In an order providing for the terms and conditions of possession of a child, the court may restrict the means of travel of the child by a legal mode of transportation only after a showing of good cause contained in the record and a finding by the court that the restriction is in the best interest of the child. The court shall specify the duties of the conservators to provide transportation to and from the transportation facilities.

153.258. Request for Findings When Order Varies From Standard Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In all cases in which possession of a child by a parent is contested and the possession of the child varies from the standard possession order, including a possession order for a child under three years of age, on request by a party, the court shall state in writing the specific reasons for the variance from the standard order.
(b) A request for findings of fact under this section must conform to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

Subchapter F. Standard Possession Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 153.311. Mutual Agreement or Specified Terms for Possession

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court shall specify in a standard possession order that the parties may have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties and, in the absence of mutual agreement, shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in the standard possession order.

§ 153.312. Parents Who Reside 100 Miles or Less Apart

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Currentness

(a) If the possessory conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

(1) on weekends throughout the year beginning at 6 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday; and

(2) on Thursdays of each week during the regular school term beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m., unless the court finds that visitation under this subdivision is not in the best interest of the child.

(b) The following provisions govern possession of the child for vacations and certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

(1) the possessory conservator shall have possession in even-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;

(2) if a possessory conservator:

(A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day; or

(B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 31;

(3) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (2), provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and

(4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year or gives the possessory conservator 14 days’ written notice on or after April 16 of each year, the managing conservator may designate one weekend beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by the possessory conservator will not take place, provided that the weekend designated does not interfere with the possessory conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.(c) Notwithstanding Section 153.316, after receiving notice from the managing conservator under Subsection (b)(3) of this section designating the summer weekend during which the managing conservator is to have possession of the child, the possessory conservator, not later than the 15th day before the Friday that begins that designated weekend, must give the managing conservator written notice of the location at which the managing conservator is to pick up and return the child.

§ 153.313. Parents Who Reside Over 100 Miles Apart

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If the possessory conservator resides more than 100 miles from the residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

(1) either regular weekend possession beginning on the first, third, and fifth Friday as provided under the terms applicable to parents who reside 100 miles or less apart or not more than one weekend per month of the possessory conservator’s choice beginning at 6 p.m. on the day school recesses for the weekend and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the weekend, provided that the possessory conservator gives the managing conservator 14 days’ written or telephonic notice preceding a designated weekend, and provided that the possessory conservator elects an option for this alternative period of possession by written notice given to the managing conservator within 90 days after the parties begin to reside more than 100 miles apart, as applicable;

(2) each year beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation;

(3) if the possessory conservator:

(A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day; or

(B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on June 15 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 27;

(4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (3), provided that if a period of possession by the possessory conservator exceeds 30 days, the managing conservator may have possession of the child under the terms of this subdivision on two nonconsecutive weekends during that time period, and further provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and

(5) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator may designate 21 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day, during which the possessory conservator may not have possession of the child, provided that the period or periods so designated do not interfere with the possessory conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

§ 153.314. Holiday Possession Unaffected by Distance Parents Reside Apart

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The following provisions govern possession of the child for certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession without regard to the distance the parents reside apart. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

(1) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;

(2) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

(3) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

(4) the parent not otherwise entitled under this standard possession order to present possession of a child on the child’s birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. on that day, provided that the parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place;

(5) if a conservator, the father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending on Father’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if he is not otherwise entitled under this standard possession order to present possession of the child, he picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place; and

(6) if a conservator, the mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending on Mother’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if she is not otherwise entitled under this standard possession order to present possession of the child, she picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

§ 153.315. Weekend Possession Extended by Holiday

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a student holiday or teacher in-service day that falls on a Monday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or with a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Monday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall end at 6 p.m. on Monday .

(b) If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a student holiday or teacher in-service day that falls on a Friday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or with a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Friday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday .

§ 153.316. General Terms and Conditions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court shall order the following general terms and conditions of possession of a child to apply without regard to the distance between the residence of a parent and the child:

(1) the managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each period of the possessory conservator’s possession at the residence of the managing conservator;

(2) if the possessory conservator elects to begin a period of possession at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed, the managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled;

(3) the possessory conservator shall be ordered to do one of the following:

(A) the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator; or

(B) the possessory conservator shall return the child to the residence of the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession, except that the order shall provide that the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator if:

(i) at the time the original order or a modification of an order establishing terms and conditions of possession or access the possessory conservator and the managing conservator lived in the same county, the possessory conservator’s county of residence remains the same after the rendition of the order, and the managing conservator’s county of residence changes, effective on the date of the change of residence by the managing conservator; or

(ii) the possessory conservator and managing conservator lived in the same residence at any time during a six-month period preceding the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage was filed and the possessory conservator’s county of residence remains the same and the managing conservator’s county of residence changes after they no longer live in the same residence, effective on the date the order is rendered;

(4) if the possessory conservator elects to end a period of possession at the time the child’s school resumes, the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled;

(5) each conservator shall return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession;

(6) either parent may designate a competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable; a parent or a designated competent adult shall be present when the child is picked up or returned;

(7) a parent shall give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the parent will be unable to exercise that parent’s right of possession for a specified period;

(8) written notice, including notice provided by electronic mail or facsimile, shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or, if applicable, postmarked before or at the time that notice is due; and

(9) if a conservator’s time of possession of a child ends at the time school resumes and for any reason the child is not or will not be returned to school, the conservator in possession of the child shall immediately notify the school and the other conservator that the child will not be or has not been returned to school.

§ 153.317. Alternative Possession Times

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If elected by a conservator, the court shall alter the standard possession order under Sections 153.312, 153.314, and 153.315 to provide for one or more of the following alternative beginning and ending possession times for the described periods of possession, unless the court finds that the election is not in the best interest of the child:

(1) for weekend periods of possession under Section 153.312(a)(1) during the regular school term:

(A) beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed;

(B) ending at the time the child’s school resumes after the weekend; or

(C) beginning at the time described by Paragraph (A) and ending at the time described by Paragraph (B);

(2) for Thursday periods of possession under Section 153.312(a)(2):

(A) beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed;

(B) ending at the time the child’s school resumes on Friday; or

(C) beginning at the time described by Paragraph (A) and ending at the time described by Paragraph (B);

(3) for spring vacation periods of possession under Section 153.312(b)(1), beginning at the time the child’s school is dismissed for those vacations;

(4) for Christmas school vacation periods of possession under Section 153.314(1), beginning at the time the child’s school is dismissed for the vacation;

(5) for Thanksgiving holiday periods of possession under Section 153.314(3), beginning at the time the child’s school is dismissed for the holiday;

(6) for Father’s Day periods of possession under Section 153.314(5), ending at 8 a.m. on the Monday after Father’s Day weekend;

(7) for Mother’s Day periods of possession under Section 153.314(6):

(A) beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day;

(B) ending at the time the child’s school resumes after Mother’s Day; or

(C) beginning at the time described by Paragraph (A) and ending at the time described by Paragraph (B); or

(8) for weekend periods of possession that are extended under Section 153.315(b) by a student holiday or teacher in-service day that falls on a Friday, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on Thursday.

(b) A conservator must make an election under Subsection (a) before or at the time of the rendition of a possession order. The election may be made:

(1) in a written document filed with the court; or

(2) through an oral statement made in open court on the record.

Subchapter G. Appointment of Nonparent as Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 153.371. Rights and Duties of Nonparent Appointed as Sole Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as sole managing conservator of a child has the rights and duties provided by Subchapter B1 and the following exclusive rights:

(1) the right to designate the primary residence of the child;

(2) the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures;

(3) the right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment;

(4) the right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child;

(5) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;

(6) the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States;

(7) the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education;

(8) the right to the services and earnings of the child;

(9) except when a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government; and

(10) the right to:

(A) apply for a passport for the child;

(B) renew the child’s passport; and(C) maintain possession of the child’s passport.

§ 153.372. Nonparent Appointed as Joint Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A nonparent, the Department of Family and Protective Services , or a licensed child-placing agency appointed as a joint managing conservator may serve in that capacity with either another nonparent or with a parent of the child.

(b) The procedural and substantive standards regarding an agreed or court-ordered joint managing conservatorship provided by Subchapter C1 apply to a nonparent joint managing conservator.

§ 153.3721. Access to Certain Records by Nonparent Joint Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Unless limited by court order or other provisions of this chapter, a nonparent joint managing conservator has the right of access to the medical records of the child, without regard to whether the right is specified in the order.

§ 153.373. Voluntary Surrender of Possession Rebuts Parental Presumption

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The presumption that a parent should be appointed or retained as managing conservator of the child is rebutted if the court finds that:

(1) the parent has voluntarily relinquished actual care, control, and possession of the child to a nonparent, a licensed child-placing agency, or the Department of Family and Protective Services for a period of one year or more, a portion of which was within 90 days preceding the date of intervention in or filing of the suit; and

(2) the appointment of the nonparent, agency, or Department of Family and Protective Services as managing conservator is in the best interest of the child.

§ 153.374. Designation of Managing Conservator in Affidavit of Relinquishment

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A parent may designate a competent person, the Department of Family and Protective Services , or a licensed child-placing agency to serve as managing conservator of the child in an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights executed as provided by Chapter 161.

(b) The person, Department of Family and Protective Services, or agency designated to serve as managing conservator shall be appointed managing conservator unless the court finds that the appointment would not be in the best interest of the child.

§ 153.375. Annual Report by Nonparent Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A nonparent appointed as a managing conservator of a child shall each 12 months after the appointment file with the court a report of facts concerning the child’s welfare, including the child’s whereabouts and physical condition.

(b) The report may not be admitted in evidence in a subsequent suit.

§ 153.376. Rights and Duties of Nonparent Possessory Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Unless limited by court order or other provisions of this chapter, a nonparent, a licensed child-placing agency, or the Department of Family and Protective Services appointed as a possessory conservator has the following rights and duties during the period of possession:

(1) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;

(2) the duty to provide the child with clothing, food, and shelter; and

(3) the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child.

(b) A nonparent possessory conservator has any other right or duty specified in the order.

§ 153.377. Access to Child's Records

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A nonparent possessory conservator has the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child to the same extent as the managing conservator, without regard to whether the right is specified in the order.

Subchapter H. Rights of Grandparent, Aunt, or Uncle

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 153.431. Appointment of Grandparent, Aunt, or Uncle as Managing Conservator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If both of the parents of a child are deceased, the court may consider appointment of a parent, sister, or brother of a deceased parent as a managing conservator of the child, but that consideration does not alter or diminish the discretionary power of the court.

§ 153.432. Suit for Possession or Access by Grandparent

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A biological or adoptive grandparent may request possession of or access to a grandchild by filing:

(1) an original suit; or

(2) a suit for modification as provided by Chapter 156 [FN1].

(b) A grandparent may request possession of or access to a grandchild in a suit filed for the sole purpose of requesting the relief, without regard to whether the appointment of a managing conservator is an issue in the suit.

(c) In a suit described by Subsection (a), the person filing the suit must execute and attach an affidavit on knowledge or belief that contains, along with supporting facts, the allegation that denial of possession of or access to the child by the petitioner would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. The court shall deny the relief sought and dismiss the suit unless the court determines that the facts stated in the affidavit, if true, would be sufficient to support the relief authorized under Section 153.433.

§ 153.433. Possession of or Access to Grandchild

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court may order reasonable possession of or access to a grandchild by a grandparent if:

(1) at the time the relief is requested, at least one biological or adoptive parent of the child has not had that parent’s parental rights terminated;

(2) the grandparent requesting possession of or access to the child overcomes the presumption that a parent acts in the best interest of the parent’s child by proving by a preponderance of the evidence that denial of possession of or access to the child would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being; and

(3) the grandparent requesting possession of or access to the child is a parent of a parent of the child and that parent of the child:

(A) has been incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition;

(B) has been found by a court to be incompetent;

(C) is dead; or

(D) does not have actual or court-ordered possession of or access to the child.

(b) An order granting possession of or access to a child by a grandparent that is rendered over a parent’s objections must state, with specificity that:

(1) at the time the relief was requested, at least one biological or adoptive parent of the child had not had that parent’s parental rights terminated;

(2) the grandparent requesting possession of or access to the child has overcome the presumption that a parent acts in the best interest of the parent’s child by proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the denial of possession of or access to the child would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being; and

(3) the grandparent requesting possession of or access to the child is a parent of a parent of the child and that parent of the child:

(A) has been incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition;

(B) has been found by a court to be incompetent;

(C) is dead; or

(D) does not have actual or court-ordered possession of or access to the child.

§ 153.434. Limitation on Right to Request Possession or Access

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A biological or adoptive grandparent may not request possession of or access to a grandchild if:

(1) each of the biological parents of the grandchild has:

(A) died;

(B) had the person’s parental rights terminated; or

(C) executed an affidavit of waiver of interest in child or an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights under Chapter 161 and the affidavit designates the Department of Family and Protective Services , a licensed child-placing agency, or a person other than the child’s stepparent as the managing conservator of the child; and

(2) the grandchild has been adopted, or is the subject of a pending suit for adoption, by a person other than the child’s stepparent.

Subchapter I. Prevention of International Parental Child Abduction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 153.501. Necessity of Measures to Prevent International Parental Child Abduction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a suit, if credible evidence is presented to the court indicating a potential risk of the international abduction of a child by a parent of the child, the court, on its own motion or at the request of a party to the suit, shall determine under this section whether it is necessary for the court to take one or more of the measures described by Section 153.503 to protect the child from the risk of abduction by the parent.

(b) In determining whether to take any of the measures described by Section 153.503, the court shall consider:

(1) the public policies of this state described by Section 153.001(a) and the consideration of the best interest of the child under Section 153.002;

(2) the risk of international abduction of the child by a parent of the child based on the court’s evaluation of the risk factors described by Section 153.502;

(3) any obstacles to locating, recovering, and returning the child if the child is abducted to a foreign country; and

(4) the potential physical or psychological harm to the child if the child is abducted to a foreign country.

§ 153.502. Abduction Risk Factors

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) To determine whether there is a risk of the international abduction of a child by a parent of the child, the court shall consider evidence that the parent:

(1) has taken, enticed away, kept, withheld, or concealed a child in violation of another person’s right of possession of or access to the child, unless the parent presents evidence that the parent believed in good faith that the parent’s conduct was necessary to avoid imminent harm to the child or the parent;

(2) has previously threatened to take, entice away, keep, withhold, or conceal a child in violation of another person’s right of possession of or access to the child;

(3) lacks financial reason to stay in the United States, including evidence that the parent is financially independent, is able to work outside of the United States, or is unemployed;

(4) has recently engaged in planning activities that could facilitate the removal of the child from the United States by the parent, including:

(A) quitting a job;

(B) selling a primary residence;

(C) terminating a lease;

(D) closing bank accounts;

(E) liquidating other assets;

(F) hiding or destroying documents;

(G) applying for a passport or visa or obtaining other travel documents for the parent or the child; or

(H) applying to obtain the child’s birth certificate or school or medical records;

(5) has a history of domestic violence that the court is required to consider under Section 153.004; or

(6) has a criminal history or a history of violating court orders.

(a-1) In considering evidence of planning activities under Subsection (a)(4), the court also shall consider any evidence that the parent was engaging in those activities as a part of a safety plan to flee from family violence.

(b) If the court finds that there is credible evidence of a risk of abduction of the child by a parent of the child based on the court’s consideration of the factors in Subsection (a), the court shall also consider evidence regarding the following factors to evaluate the risk of international abduction of the child by a parent:

(1) whether the parent has strong familial, emotional, or cultural ties to another country, particularly a country that is not a signatory to or compliant with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; and

(2) whether the parent lacks strong ties to the United States, regardless of whether the parent is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

(c) If the court finds that there is credible evidence of a risk of abduction of the child by a parent of the child based on the court’s consideration of the factors in Subsection (a), the court may also consider evidence regarding the following factors to evaluate the risk of international abduction of the child by a parent:

(1) whether the parent is undergoing a change in status with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service that would adversely affect that parent’s ability to legally remain in the United States;

(2) whether the parent’s application for United States citizenship has been denied by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service;

(3) whether the parent has forged or presented misleading or false evidence to obtain a visa, a passport, a social security card, or any other identification card or has made any misrepresentation to the United States government; or

(4) whether the foreign country to which the parent has ties:

(A) presents obstacles to the recovery and return of a child who is abducted to the country from the United States;

(B) has any legal mechanisms for immediately and effectively enforcing an order regarding the possession of or access to the child issued by this state;

(C) has local laws or practices that would:

(i) enable the parent to prevent the child’s other parent from contacting the child without due cause;

(ii) restrict the child’s other parent from freely traveling to or exiting from the country because of that parent’s gender, nationality, or religion; or

(iii) restrict the child’s ability to legally leave the country after the child reaches the age of majority because of the child’s gender, nationality, or religion;

(D) is included by the United States Department of State on a list of state sponsors of terrorism;

(E) is a country for which the United States Department of State has issued a travel warning to United States citizens regarding travel to the country;

(F) has an embassy of the United States in the country;

(G) is engaged in any active military action or war, including a civil war;

(H) is a party to and compliant with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction according to the most recent report on compliance issued by the United States Department of State;

(I) provides for the extradition of a parental abductor and the return of the child to the United States; or

(J) poses a risk that the child’s physical health or safety would be endangered in the country because of specific circumstances relating to the child or because of human rights violations committed against children, including arranged marriages, lack of freedom of religion, child labor, lack of child abuse laws, female genital mutilation, and any form of slavery.

§ 153.503. Abduction Prevention Measures

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If the court finds that it is necessary under Section 153.501 to take measures to protect a child from international abduction by a parent of the child, the court may take any of the following actions:

(1) appoint a person other than the parent of the child who presents a risk of abducting the child as the sole managing conservator of the child;

(2) require supervised visitation of the parent by a visitation center or independent organization until the court finds under Section 153.501 that supervised visitation is no longer necessary;

(3) enjoin the parent or any person acting on the parent’s behalf from:

(A) disrupting or removing the child from the school or child-care facility in which the child is enrolled; or

(B) approaching the child at any location other than a site designated for supervised visitation;

(4) order passport and travel controls, including controls that:

(A) prohibit the parent and any person acting on the parent’s behalf from removing the child from this state or the United States;

(B) require the parent to surrender any passport issued in the child’s name, including any passport issued in the name of both the parent and the child; and

(C) prohibit the parent from applying on behalf of the child for a new or replacement passport or international travel visa;

(5) require the parent to provide:

(A) to the United States Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues and the relevant foreign consulate or embassy:

(i) written notice of the court-ordered passport and travel restrictions for the child; and

(ii) a properly authenticated copy of the court order detailing the restrictions and documentation of the parent’s agreement to the restrictions; and

(B) to the court proof of receipt of the written notice required by Paragraph (A)(i) by the United States Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues and the relevant foreign consulate or embassy;

(6) order the parent to execute a bond or deposit security in an amount sufficient to offset the cost of recovering the child if the child is abducted by the parent to a foreign country;

(7) authorize the appropriate law enforcement agencies to take measures to prevent the abduction of the child by the parent; or

(8) include in the court’s order provisions:

(A) identifying the United States as the country of habitual residence of the child;

(B) defining the basis for the court’s exercise of jurisdiction; and

(C) stating that a party’s violation of the order may subject the party to a civil penalty or criminal penalty or to both civil and criminal penalties.

Subchapter J. Rights of Siblings

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 153.551. Suit for Access

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The sibling of a child who is separated from the child because of an action taken by the Department of Family and Protective Services may request access to the child by filing:

(1) an original suit; or

(2) a suit for modification as provided by Chapter 156 [FN1].

(b) A sibling described by Subsection (a) may request access to the child in a suit filed for the sole purpose of requesting the relief, without regard to whether the appointment of a managing conservator is an issue in the suit.

(c) The court shall order reasonable access to the child by the child’s sibling described by Subsection (a) if the court finds that access is in the best interest of the child.

Subchapter K. Parenting Plan and Parenting Coordinator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 153.601. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this subchapter:

(1) “Dispute resolution process” means:

(A) a process of alternative dispute resolution conducted in accordance with Section 153.0071 of this chapter and Chapter 154, Civil Practice and Remedies Code; or

(B) any other method of voluntary dispute resolution.

(2) “High-conflict case” means a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which the court finds that the parties have demonstrated an unusual degree of:

(A) repetitiously resorting to the adjudicative process;

(B) anger and distrust; and

(C) difficulty in communicating about and cooperating in the care of their children.

(3) “Parenting coordinator” means an impartial third party:

(A) who, regardless of the title by which the person is designated by the court, performs any function described by Section 153.606 in a suit; and

(B) who:

(i) is appointed under this subchapter by the court on its own motion or on a motion or agreement of the parties to assist parties in resolving parenting issues through confidential procedures; and

(ii) is not appointed under another statute or a rule of civil procedure.

(3-a) “Parenting facilitator” means an impartial third party:

(A) who, regardless of the title by which the person is designated by the court, performs any function described by Section 153.6061 in a suit; and

(B) who:

(i) is appointed under this subchapter by the court on its own motion or on a motion or agreement of the parties to assist parties in resolving parenting issues through procedures that are not confidential; and

(ii) is not appointed under another statute or a rule of civil procedure.

(4) “Parenting plan” means the provisions of a final court order that:

(A) set out rights and duties of a parent or a person acting as a parent in relation to the child;

(B) provide for periods of possession of and access to the child, which may be the terms set out in the standard possession order under Subchapter F and any amendments to the standard possession order agreed to by the parties or found by the court to be in the best interest of the child;

(C) provide for child support; and

(D) optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship between each parent and the child.

§ 153.602. Parenting Plan Not Required in Temporary Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A temporary order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship rendered in accordance with Section 105.001 is not required to include a temporary parenting plan. The court may not require the submission of a temporary parenting plan in any case or by local rule or practice.

§ 153.603. Requirement of Parenting Plan in Final Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a final order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship must include a parenting plan.

(b) The following orders are not required to include a parenting plan:

(1) an order that only modifies child support;

(2) an order that only terminates parental rights; or

(3) a final order described by Section 155.001(b).

(c) If the parties have not reached agreement on a final parenting plan on or before the 30th day before the date set for trial on the merits, a party may file with the court and serve a proposed parenting plan.

(d) This section does not preclude the parties from requesting the appointment of a parenting coordinator to resolve parental conflicts.

§ 153.6031. Exception to Dispute Resolution Process Requirement

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A requirement in a parenting plan that a party initiate or participate in a dispute resolution process before filing a court action does not apply to an action:

(1) to modify the parenting plan in an emergency;

(2) to modify child support;

(3) alleging that the child’s present circumstances will significantly impair the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development;

(4) to enforce; or

(5) in which the party shows that enforcement of the requirement is precluded or limited by Section 153.0071.

§ 153.605. Appointment of Parenting Coordinator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, the court may, on its own motion or on a motion or agreement of the parties, appoint a parenting coordinator or assign a domestic relations office under Chapter 203 to appoint an employee or other person to serve as parenting coordinator.

(b) The court may not appoint a parenting coordinator unless, after notice and hearing, the court makes a specific finding that:

(1) the case is a high-conflict case or there is good cause shown for the appointment of a parenting coordinator and the appointment is in the best interest of any minor child in the suit; and

(2) the person appointed has the minimum qualifications required by Section 153.610, as documented by the person, unless those requirements have been waived by the court with the agreement of the parties in accordance with Section 153.610(c).

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, a party may at any time file a written objection to the appointment of a parenting coordinator on the basis of family violence having been committed by another party against the objecting party or a child who is the subject of the suit. After an objection is filed, a parenting coordinator may not be appointed unless, on the request of a party, a hearing is held and the court finds that a preponderance of the evidence does not support the objection. If a parenting coordinator is appointed, the court shall order appropriate measures be taken to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the party who filed the objection. The order may provide that the parties not be required to have face-to-face contact and that the parties be placed in separate rooms during the parenting coordination.

(d) An individual appointed as a parenting coordinator may not serve in any nonconfidential capacity in the same case, including serving as an amicus attorney, guardian ad litem, child custody evaluator, or adoption evaluator under Chapter 107, as a friend of the court under Chapter 202, or as a parenting facilitator under this subchapter.

§ 153.606. Duties of Parenting Coordinator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court shall specify the duties of a parenting coordinator in the order appointing the parenting coordinator. The duties of the parenting coordinator are limited to matters that will aid the parties in:

(1) identifying disputed issues;

(2) reducing misunderstandings;

(3) clarifying priorities;

(4) exploring possibilities for problem solving;

(5) developing methods of collaboration in parenting;

(6) understanding parenting plans and reaching agreements about parenting issues to be included in a parenting plan;

(7) complying with the court’s order regarding conservatorship or possession of and access to the child;

(8) implementing parenting plans;

(9) obtaining training regarding problem solving, conflict management, and parenting skills; and

(10) settling disputes regarding parenting issues and reaching a proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes.

(b) The appointment of a parenting coordinator does not divest the court of:

(1) its exclusive jurisdiction to determine issues of conservatorship, support, and possession of and access to the child; and

(2) the authority to exercise management and control of the suit.

(c) The parenting coordinator may not modify any order, judgment, or decree.

(d) Meetings between the parenting coordinator and the parties may be informal and are not required to follow any specific procedures unless otherwise provided by this subchapter.

(e) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 1181, §11(2).

(f) A parenting coordinator appointed under this subchapter shall comply with the Ethical Guidelines for Mediators as adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas (Misc. Docket No. 05-9107, June 13, 2005). On request by the court, the parties, or the parties’ attorneys, the parenting coordinator shall sign a statement of agreement to comply with those guidelines and submit the statement to the court on acceptance of the appointment. A failure to comply with the guidelines is grounds for removal of the parenting coordinator.

§ 153.607. Removal of Parenting Coordinator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) It is a rebuttable presumption that a parenting coordinator is acting in good faith if the parenting coordinator’s services have been conducted as provided by this subchapter and the Ethical Guidelines for Mediators described by Section 153.606(f).

(a-1) Except as otherwise provided by this section, the court may remove the parenting coordinator in the court’s discretion.

(b) The court shall remove the parenting coordinator:

(1) on the request and agreement of all parties;

(2) on the request of the parenting coordinator;

(3) on the motion of a party, if good cause is shown; or

(4) if the parenting coordinator ceases to satisfy the minimum qualifications required by Section 153.610.

§ 153.608. Report of Parenting Coordinator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

A parenting coordinator shall submit a written report to the court and to the parties as often as ordered by the court. The report must be limited to a statement of whether the parenting coordination should continue.

§ 153.609. Compensation of Parenting Coordinator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A court may not appoint a parenting coordinator, other than a domestic relations office or a comparable county agency appointed under Subsection (c) or a volunteer appointed under Subsection (d), unless, after notice and hearing, the court finds that the parties have the means to pay the fees of the parenting coordinator.

(b) Any fees of a parenting coordinator appointed under Subsection (a) shall be allocated between the parties as determined by the court.

(c) Public funds may not be used to pay the fees of a parenting coordinator. Notwithstanding this prohibition, a court may appoint the domestic relations office or a comparable county agency to act as a parenting coordinator if personnel are available to serve that function.

(d) If due to hardship the parties are unable to pay the fees of a parenting coordinator, and a domestic relations office or a comparable county agency is not available under Subsection (c), the court, if feasible, may appoint a person who meets the minimum qualifications prescribed by Section 153.610, including an employee of the court, to act as a parenting coordinator on a volunteer basis and without compensation.

§ 153.610. Qualifications of Parenting Coordinator

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court shall determine the required qualifications of a parenting coordinator, provided that a parenting coordinator must have experience working in a field relating to families, have practical experience with high-conflict cases or litigation between parents, and :

(1) hold at least:

(A) a bachelor’s degree in counseling, education, family studies, psychology, or social work ; or

(B) a graduate degree in a mental health profession, with an emphasis in family and children’s issues; or

(2) be licensed in good standing as an attorney in this state.

(b) In addition to the qualifications prescribed by Subsection (a), a parenting coordinator must complete at least:

(1) eight hours of family violence dynamics training provided by a family violence service provider;

(2) 40 classroom hours of training in dispute resolution techniques in a course conducted by an alternative dispute resolution system or other dispute resolution organization approved by the court; and

(3) 24 classroom hours of training in the fields of family dynamics, child development, family law and the law governing parenting coordination, and parenting coordination styles and procedures.

(c) In appropriate circumstances, a court may, with the agreement of the parties, appoint a person as parenting coordinator who does not satisfy the requirements of Subsection (a) or Subsection (b)(2) or (3) if the court finds that the person has sufficient legal or other professional training or experience in dispute resolution processes to serve in that capacity.

(d) The actions of a parenting coordinator who is not an attorney do not constitute the practice of law.

§ 153.611. Exception for Certain Title IV-D Proceedings

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

<Text of section effective until Sept. 1, 2018. See, also, text of section effective Sept. 1, 2018.>

Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, this subchapter does not apply to a proceeding in a Title IV-D case relating to the determination of parentage or establishment, modification, or enforcement of a child support or medical support obligation.

Chapter 154. Child Support

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. Court-Ordered Child Support

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 154.001. Support of Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court may order either or both parents to support a child in the manner specified by the order:
(1) until the child is 18 years of age or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later;
(2) until the child is emancipated through marriage, through removal of the disabilities of minority by court order, or by other operation of law;
(3) until the death of the child; or
(4) if the child is disabled as defined in this chapter, for an indefinite period.
(a-1) The court may order each person who is financially able and whose parental rights have been terminated with respect to a child in substitute care for whom the department has been appointed managing conservator, a child for a reason described by Section 161.001(b)(1)(T)(iv) or (b)(1)(U), or a child who was conceived as a direct result of conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code, to support the child in the manner specified by the order:
(1) until the earliest of:
(A) the child’s adoption;
(B) the child’s 18th birthday or graduation from high school, whichever occurs later;
(C) removal of the child’s disabilities of minority by court order, marriage, or other operation of law; or
(D) the child’s death; or
(2) if the child is disabled as defined in this chapter, for an indefinite period.
(b) The court may order either or both parents to make periodic payments for the support of a child in a proceeding in which the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services is named temporary managing conservator. In a proceeding in which the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services is named permanent managing conservator of a child whose parents’ rights have not been terminated, the court shall order each parent that is financially able to make periodic payments for the support of the child.
(c) In a Title IV-D case, if neither parent has physical possession or conservatorship of the child, the court may render an order providing that a nonparent or agency having physical possession may receive, hold, or disburse child support payments for the benefit of the child.

§ 154.003. Manner of Payment

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The court may order that child support be paid by:

(1) periodic payments;

(2) a lump-sum payment;

(3) an annuity purchase;

(4) the setting aside of property to be administered for the support of the child as specified in the order; or

(5) any combination of periodic payments, lump-sum payments, annuity purchases, or setting aside of property.

§ 154.008. Provision for Medical Support

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

<Text of section effective until Sept. 1, 2018. See, also, text of section effective Sept. 1, 2018.>

The court shall order medical support for the child as provided by Subchapters B and D.

Chapter 155. Continuing, Exclusive Jurisdiction; Transfer

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter C. Transfer of Continuing, Exclusive Jurisdiction

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 155.201. Mandatory Transfer

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) On the filing of a motion showing that a suit for dissolution of the marriage of the child’s parents has been filed in another court and requesting a transfer to that court, the court having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship shall, within the time required by Section 155.204, transfer the proceedings to the court in which the dissolution of the marriage is pending.

(a-1) On the filing of a motion showing that a suit in which adoption of a child is requested has been filed in another court located in the county in which the child resides as provided by Section 103.001 and requesting a transfer to that court, the court having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship with regard to that child shall, within the time required by Section 155.204, transfer the proceedings to the court in which the suit for adoption is pending.

(a-2) A motion described by Subsection (a) or (a-1) must comply with the requirements of Section 155.204(a).

(b) If a suit to modify or a motion to enforce an order is filed in the court having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a suit, on the timely motion of a party the court shall, within the time required by Section 155. 204, transfer the proceeding to another county in this state if the child has resided in the other county for six months or longer.

(c) If a suit to modify or a motion to enforce an order is pending at the time a subsequent suit to modify or motion to enforce is filed, the court may transfer the proceeding as provided by Subsection (b) only if the court could have transferred the proceeding at the time the first motion or suit was filed.(d) On receiving notice that a court exercising jurisdiction under Chapter 262 has ordered the transfer of a suit under Section 262.203(a)(2), the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction shall, in accordance with the requirements of Section 155.204(i), transfer the proceedings to the court in which the suit under Chapter 262 is pending within the time required by Section 155.207(a).

§ 155.202. Discretionary Transfer

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If the basis of a motion to transfer a proceeding under this subchapter is that the child resides in another county, the court may deny the motion if it is shown that the child has resided in that county for less than six months at the time the proceeding is commenced.

(b) For the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice, the court, on the timely motion of a party, may transfer the proceeding to a proper court in another county in the state.

§ 155.203. Determining County of Child's Residence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In computing the time during which the child has resided in a county, the court may not require that the period of residence be continuous and uninterrupted but shall look to the child’s principal residence during the six-month period preceding the commencement of the suit.

§ 155.204. Procedure for Transfer

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A motion to transfer under Section 155.201(a) or (a-1) may be filed at any time. The motion must contain a certification that all other parties, including the attorney general, if applicable, have been informed of the filing of the motion.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (a) or Section 262.203, a motion to transfer by a petitioner or movant is timely if it is made at the time the initial pleadings are filed. A motion to transfer by another party is timely if it is made on or before the first Monday after the 20th day after the date of service of citation or notice of the suit or before the commencement of the hearing, whichever is sooner.

(c) If a timely motion to transfer has been filed and no controverting affidavit is filed within the period allowed for its filing, the proceeding shall, not later than the 21st day after the final date of the period allowed for the filing of a controverting affidavit, be transferred without a hearing to the proper court.

(d) On or before the first Monday after the 20th day after the date of notice of a motion to transfer is served, a party desiring to contest the motion must file a controverting affidavit denying that grounds for the transfer exist.

(e) If a controverting affidavit contesting the motion to transfer is filed, each party is entitled to notice not less than 10 days before the date of the hearing on the motion to transfer.

(f) Only evidence pertaining to the transfer may be taken at the hearing.

(g) If the court finds after the hearing on the motion to transfer that grounds for the transfer exist, the proceeding shall be transferred to the proper court not later than the 21st day after the date the hearing is concluded.

(h) An order transferring or refusing to transfer the proceeding is not subject to interlocutory appeal.(i) If a transfer order has been signed by a court exercising jurisdiction under Chapter 262, the Department of Family and Protective Services shall file the transfer order with the clerk of the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction. On receipt and without a hearing or further order from the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction, the clerk of the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction shall transfer the files as provided by this subchapter within the time required by Section 155.207(a).

Chapter 156. Modification

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter B. Modification of Conservatorship, Possession and Access, or Determination of Residence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 156.101. Grounds for Modification of Order Establishing Conservatorship or Possession and Access

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The court may modify an order that provides for the appointment of a conservator of a child, that provides the terms and conditions of conservatorship, or that provides for the possession of or access to a child if modification would be in the best interest of the child and:

(1) the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of:

(A) the date of the rendition of the order; or

(B) the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based;

(2) the child is at least 12 years of age and has expressed to the court in chambers as provided by Section 153.009 the name of the person who is the child’s preference to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child; or

(3) the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to another person for at least six months.

(b) Subsection (a)(3) does not apply to a conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child and who has temporarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to another person during the conservator’s military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary military duty, as those terms are defined by Section 153.701.

§ 156.102. Modification of Exclusive Right to Determine Primary Residence of Child Within One Year of Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) If a suit seeking to modify the designation of the person having the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of a child is filed not later than one year after the earlier of the date of the rendition of the order or the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based, the person filing the suit shall execute and attach an affidavit as provided by Subsection (b).

(b) The affidavit must contain, along with supporting facts, at least one of the following allegations:

(1) that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development;

(2) that the person who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child is the person seeking or consenting to the modification and the modification is in the best interest of the child; or

(3) that the person who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child for at least six months and the modification is in the best interest of the child.

(c) The court shall deny the relief sought and refuse to schedule a hearing for modification under this section unless the court determines, on the basis of the affidavit, that facts adequate to support an allegation listed in Subsection (b) are stated in the affidavit. If the court determines that the facts stated are adequate to support an allegation, the court shall set a time and place for the hearing.

(d) Subsection (b)(3) does not apply to a person who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child and who has temporarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to another person during the conservator’s military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary military duty, as those terms are defined by Section 153.701.

§ 156.104. Modification of Order on Conviction for Child Abuse; Penalty

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as provided by Section 156.1045, the conviction of a conservator for an offense under Section 21.02, Penal Code, or the conviction of a conservator or an order deferring adjudication with regard to the conservator, for an offense involving the abuse of a child under Section 21.11, 22.011, or 22.021, Penal Code, is a material and substantial change of circumstances sufficient to justify a temporary order and modification of an existing court order or portion of a decree that provides for the appointment of a conservator or that sets the terms and conditions of conservatorship or for the possession of or access to a child.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person files a suit to modify an order or portion of a decree based on the grounds permitted under Subsection (a) and the person knows that the person against whom the motion is filed has not been convicted of an offense, or received deferred adjudication for an offense, under Section 21.02, 21.11, 22.011, or 22.021, Penal Code. An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor.

§ 156.1045. Modification of Order on Conviction for Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The conviction or an order deferring adjudication of a person who is a possessory conservator or a sole or joint managing conservator for an offense involving family violence is a material and substantial change of circumstances sufficient to justify a temporary order and modification of an existing court order or portion of a decree that provides for the appointment of a conservator or that sets the terms and conditions of conservatorship or for the possession of or access to a child to conform the order to the requirements of Section 153.004(d).

(b) A person commits an offense if the person files a suit to modify an order or portion of a decree based on the grounds permitted under Subsection (a) and the person knows that the person against whom the motion is filed has not been convicted of an offense, or received deferred adjudication for an offense, involving family violence. An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor.

§ 156.105. Modification of Order Based on Military Deployment

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The military duty of a conservator who is ordered to military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary military duty, as those terms are defined by Section 153.701, does not by itself constitute a material and substantial change of circumstances sufficient to justify a modification of an existing court order or portion of a decree that sets the terms and conditions for the possession of or access to a child except that the court may render a temporary order under Subchapter L, [FN1] Chapter 153 [FN2].

Chapter 160. Uniform Parentage Act

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter C. Parent-Child Relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 160.204. Presumption of Paternity

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

(1) he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage;

(2) he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;

(3) he married the mother of the child before the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;

(4) he married the mother of the child after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, regardless of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid, he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:

(A) the assertion is in a record filed with the vital statistics unit;

(B) he is voluntarily named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or

(C) he promised in a record to support the child as his own; or

(5) during the first two years of the child’s life, he continuously resided in the household in which the child resided and he represented to others that the child was his own.

(b) A presumption of paternity established under this section may be rebutted only by:

(1) an adjudication under Subchapter G [FN1]; or

(2) the filing of a valid denial of paternity by a presumed father in conjunction with the filing by another person of a valid acknowledgment of paternity as provided by Section 160.305.

Subchapter D. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 160.301. Acknowledgment of Paternity

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The mother of a child and a man claiming to be the biological father of the child may sign an acknowledgment of paternity with the intent to establish the man’s paternity.

§ 160.306. Filing Fee Not Required

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

The Department of State Health Services may not charge a fee for filing:

(1) an acknowledgment of paternity;

(2) a denial of paternity; or

(3) a rescission of an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity.

Subchapter F. Genetic Testing

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 160.502. Order for Testing

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter and by Subchapter G, a court shall order a child and other designated individuals to submit to genetic testing if the request is made by a party to a proceeding to determine parentage.

(b) If a request for genetic testing of a child is made before the birth of the child, the court or support enforcement agency may not order in utero testing.

(c) If two or more men are subject to court-ordered genetic testing, the testing may be ordered concurrently or sequentially.

§ 160.505. Genetic Testing Results; Rebuttal

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A man is rebuttably identified as the father of a child under this chapter if the genetic testing complies with this subchapter and the results disclose:

(1) that the man has at least a 99 percent probability of paternity, using a prior probability of 0.5, as calculated by using the combined paternity index obtained in the testing; and

(2) a combined paternity index of at least 100 to 1.

(b) A man identified as the father of a child under Subsection (a) may rebut the genetic testing results only by producing other genetic testing satisfying the requirements of this subchapter that:

(1) excludes the man as a genetic father of the child; or

(2) identifies another man as the possible father of the child.

(c) Except as otherwise provided by Section 160.510, if more than one man is identified by genetic testing as the possible father of the child, the court shall order each man to submit to further genetic testing to identify the genetic father.

Chapter 161. Termination of the parent-child relationship

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. Grounds

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

161.007 Termination When Pregnancy Results from Criminal Act

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the court shall order the termination of the parent-child relationship of a parent and a child if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

(1) the parent has engaged in conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code;

(2) as a direct result of the conduct described by Subdivision (1), the victim of the conduct became pregnant with the parent’s child; and

(3) termination is in the best interest of the child.

(b) If, for the two years after the birth of the child, the parent was married to or cohabiting with the other parent of the child, the court may order the termination of the parent-child relationship of the parent and the child if the court finds that:

(1) the parent has been convicted of an offense committed under Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code;

(2) as a direct result of the commission of the offense by the parent, the other parent became pregnant with the child; and

(3) termination is in the best interest of the child.

Subtitle E. Protection of the Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 261. Investigation of Report of Child Abuse or Neglect

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

261.001. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this chapter:
(1) “Abuse” includes the following acts or omissions by a person:
(A) mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(B) causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(C) physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;
(D) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;
(E) sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Section 21.02, Penal Code, indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code;
(F) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child;
(G) compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Section 43.01, Penal Code, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Section 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), Penal Code, prostitution under Section 43.02(b), Penal Code, or compelling prostitution under Section 43.05(a)(2), Penal Code;
(H) causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Section 43.21, Penal Code, or pornographic;
(I) the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child;
(J) causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code;
(K) causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code;
(L) knowingly causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a child to be trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(5), (6), (7), or (8), Penal Code, or the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent a child from being trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under any of those sections; or
(M) forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage.
(2) “Department” means the Department of Family and Protective Services.
(3) “Exploitation” means the illegal or improper use of a child or of the resources of a child for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain by an employee, volunteer, or other individual working under the auspices of a facility or program as further described by rule or policy.
(4) “Neglect”:
(A) includes:
(i) the leaving of a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of an intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of the child;
(ii) the following acts or omissions by a person:
(a) placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child;
(b) failing to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for a child, with the failure resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child;
(c) the failure to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services had been offered and refused;
(d) placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child; or
(e) placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to acts or omissions that constitute abuse under Subdivision (1)(E), (F), (G), (H), or (K) committed against another child;
(iii) the failure by the person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare to permit the child to return to the child’s home without arranging for the necessary care for the child after the child has been absent from the home for any reason, including having been in residential placement or having run away; or
(iv) a negligent act or omission by an employee, volunteer, or other individual working under the auspices of a facility or program, including failure to comply with an individual treatment plan, plan of care, or individualized service plan, that causes or may cause substantial emotional harm or physical injury to, or the death of, a child served by the facility or program as further described by rule or policy; and
(B) does not include the refusal by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare to permit the child to remain in or return to the child’s home resulting in the placement of the child in the conservatorship of the department if:
(i) the child has a severe emotional disturbance;
(ii) the person’s refusal is based solely on the person’s inability to obtain mental health services necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the child; and
(iii) the person has exhausted all reasonable means available to the person to obtain the mental health services described by Subparagraph (ii).
(5) “Person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare” means a person who traditionally is responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare, including:
(A) a parent, guardian, managing or possessory conservator, or foster parent of the child;
(B) a member of the child’s family or household as defined by Chapter 71;
(C) a person with whom the child’s parent cohabits;
(D) school personnel or a volunteer at the child’s school;
(E) personnel or a volunteer at a public or private child-care facility that provides services for the child or at a public or private residential institution or facility where the child resides; or
(F) an employee, volunteer, or other person working under the supervision of a licensed or unlicensed child-care facility, including a family home, residential child-care facility, employer-based day-care facility, or shelter day-care facility, as those terms are defined in Chapter 42, Human Resources Code.
(6) “Report” means a report that alleged or suspected abuse or neglect of a child has occurred or may occur.
(7) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., ch. 316 (H.B. 5), § 36(1).
(8) Repealed by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., ch. 1 (S.B. 219), § 1.203(4).
(9) “Severe emotional disturbance” means a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to result in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits a person’s role or ability to function in family, school, or community activities.

Penal Code (select sections)

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Title 1. Introductory Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 1. General Provisions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

1.07. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this code:

(1) “Act” means a bodily movement, whether voluntary or involuntary, and includes speech.

(2) “Actor” means a person whose criminal responsibility is in issue in a criminal action. Whenever the term “suspect” is used in this code, it means “actor.”

(3) “Agency” includes authority, board, bureau, commission, committee, council, department, district, division, and office.

(4) “Alcoholic beverage” has the meaning assigned by Section 1.04, Alcoholic Beverage Code.

(5) “Another” means a person other than the actor.

(6) “Association” means a government or governmental subdivision or agency, trust, partnership, or two or more persons having a joint or common economic interest.

(7) “Benefit” means anything reasonably regarded as economic gain or advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the beneficiary is interested.

(8) “Bodily injury” means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

(8-a) “Civil commitment facility” means a facility owned, leased, or operated by the state, or by a vendor under contract with the state, that houses only persons who have been civilly committed as sexually violent predators under Chapter 841, Health and Safety Code.

(9) “Coercion” means a threat, however communicated:

(A) to commit an offense;

(B) to inflict bodily injury in the future on the person threatened or another;

(C) to accuse a person of any offense;

(D) to expose a person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule;

(E) to harm the credit or business repute of any person; or

(F) to take or withhold action as a public servant, or to cause a public servant to take or withhold action.

(10) “Conduct” means an act or omission and its accompanying mental state.

(11) “Consent” means assent in fact, whether express or apparent.

(12) “Controlled substance” has the meaning assigned by Section 481.002, Health and Safety Code.

(13) “Corporation” includes nonprofit corporations, professional associations created pursuant to statute, and joint stock companies.

(14) “Correctional facility” means a place designated by law for the confinement of a person arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense. The term includes:

(A) a municipal or county jail;

(B) a confinement facility operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice;

(C) a confinement facility operated under contract with any division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; and

(D) a community corrections facility operated by a community supervision and corrections department.

(15) “Criminal negligence” is defined in Section 6.03 (Culpable Mental States).

(16) “Dangerous drug” has the meaning assigned by Section 483.001, Health and Safety Code.

(17) “Deadly weapon” means:

(A) a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or

(B) anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

(18) “Drug” has the meaning assigned by Section 481.002, Health and Safety Code.

(19) “Effective consent” includes consent by a person legally authorized to act for the owner. Consent is not effective if:

(A) induced by force, threat, or fraud;

(B) given by a person the actor knows is not legally authorized to act for the owner;

(C) given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect, or intoxication is known by the actor to be unable to make reasonable decisions; or

(D) given solely to detect the commission of an offense.

(20) “Electric generating plant” means a facility that generates electric energy for distribution to the public.

(21) “Electric utility substation” means a facility used to switch or change voltage in connection with the transmission of electric energy for distribution to the public.

(22) “Element of offense” means:

(A) the forbidden conduct;

(B) the required culpability;

(C) any required result; and

(D) the negation of any exception to the offense.

(23) “Felony” means an offense so designated by law or punishable by death or confinement in a penitentiary.

(24) “Government” means:

(A) the state;

(B) a county, municipality, or political subdivision of the state; or

(C) any branch or agency of the state, a county, municipality, or political subdivision.

(25) “Harm” means anything reasonably regarded as loss, disadvantage, or injury, including harm to another person in whose welfare the person affected is interested.

(26) “Individual” means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.

(27) Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 87, § 25.144.

(28) “Intentional” is defined in Section 6.03 (Culpable Mental States).

(29) “Knowing” is defined in Section 6.03 (Culpable Mental States).

(30) “Law” means the constitution or a statute of this state or of the United States, a written opinion of a court of record, a municipal ordinance, an order of a county commissioners court, or a rule authorized by and lawfully adopted under a statute.

(31) “Misdemeanor” means an offense so designated by law or punishable by fine, by confinement in jail, or by both fine and confinement in jail.

(32) “Oath” includes affirmation.

(33) “Official proceeding” means any type of administrative, executive, legislative, or judicial proceeding that may be conducted before a public servant.

(34) “Omission” means failure to act.

(35) “Owner” means a person who:

(A) has title to the property, possession of the property, whether lawful or not, or a greater right to possession of the property than the actor; or

(B) is a holder in due course of a negotiable instrument.

(36) “Peace officer” means a person elected, employed, or appointed as a peace officer under Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 51.212 or 51.214, Education Code, or other law.

(37) “Penal institution” means a place designated by law for confinement of persons arrested for, charged with, or convicted of an offense.

(38) “Person” means an individual or a corporation, association, limited liability company, or other entity or organization governed by the Business Organizations Code.

(39) “Possession” means actual care, custody, control, or management.

(40) “Public place” means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.

(41) “Public servant” means a person elected, selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated as one of the following, even if he has not yet qualified for office or assumed his duties:

(A) an officer, employee, or agent of government;

(B) a juror or grand juror; or

(C) an arbitrator, referee, or other person who is authorized by law or private written agreement to hear or determine a cause or controversy; or

(D) an attorney at law or notary public when participating in the performance of a governmental function; or

(E) a candidate for nomination or election to public office; or

(F) a person who is performing a governmental function under a claim of right although he is not legally qualified to do so.

(42) “Reasonable belief” means a belief that would be held by an ordinary and prudent man in the same circumstances as the actor.

(43) “Reckless” is defined in Section 6.03 (Culpable Mental States).

(44) “Rule” includes regulation.

(45) “Secure correctional facility” means:

(A) a municipal or county jail; or

(B) a confinement facility operated by or under a contract with any division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

(46) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

(46-a) “Sight order” means a written or electronic instruction to pay money that is authorized by the person giving the instruction and that is payable on demand or at a definite time by the person being instructed to pay. The term includes a check, an electronic debit, or an automatic bank draft.

(46-b) “Federal special investigator” means a person described by Article 2.122, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(47) “Swear” includes affirm.

(48) “Unlawful” means criminal or tortious or both and includes what would be criminal or tortious but for a defense not amounting to justification or privilege.

(49) “Death” includes, for an individual who is an unborn child, the failure to be born alive.(b) The definition of a term in this code applies to each grammatical variation of the term.

Title 3. Punishments

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 12. Punishments

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter B. Ordinary Misdemeanor Punishments

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 12.21. Class A Misdemeanor

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

An individual adjudged guilty of a Class A misdemeanor shall be punished by:

(1) a fine not to exceed $4,000;

(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or

(3) both such fine and confinement.

Subchapter C. Ordinary Felony Punishments

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 12.34. Third Degree Felony Punishment

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.

(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Title 5. Offenses Against the Person

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 20. Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 20.01. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this chapter:

(1) “Restrain” means to restrict a person’s movements without consent, so as to interfere substantially with the person’s liberty, by moving the person from one place to another or by confining the person. Restraint is “without consent” if it is accomplished by:

(A) force, intimidation, or deception; or

(B) any means, including acquiescence of the victim, if:

(i) the victim is a child who is less than 14 years of age or an incompetent person and the parent, guardian, or person or institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement; or

(ii) the victim is a child who is 14 years of age or older and younger than 17 years of age, the victim is taken outside of the state and outside a 120-mile radius from the victim’s residence, and the parent, guardian, or person or institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement.

(2) “Abduct” means to restrain a person with intent to prevent his liberation by:

(A) secreting or holding him in a place where he is not likely to be found; or

(B) using or threatening to use deadly force.

(3) “Relative” means a parent or stepparent, ancestor, sibling, or uncle or aunt, including an adoptive relative of the same degree through marriage or adoption.

(4) “Person” means an individual or a corporation, association, limited liability company, or other entity or organization governed by the Business Organizations Code.(5) Notwithstanding Section 1.07, “individual” means a human being who has been born and is alive.

§ 20.03. Kidnapping

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.

(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the abduction was not coupled with intent to use or to threaten to use deadly force;

(2) the actor was a relative of the person abducted; and

(3) the actor’s sole intent was to assume lawful control of the victim.

(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

§ 20.04. Aggravated Kidnapping

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person with the intent to:

(1) hold him for ransom or reward;

(2) use him as a shield or hostage;

(3) facilitate the commission of a felony or the flight after the attempt or commission of a felony;

(4) inflict bodily injury on him or violate or abuse him sexually;

(5) terrorize him or a third person; or

(6) interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly abducts another person and uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.

(d) At the punishment stage of a trial, the defendant may raise the issue as to whether he voluntarily released the victim in a safe place. If the defendant proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the offense is a felony of the second degree.

§ 20.02. Unlawful Restraint

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly restrains another person.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) the person restrained was a child younger than 14 years of age;
(2) the actor was a relative of the child; and
(3) the actor’s sole intent was to assume lawful control of the child.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is:
(1) a state jail felony if the person restrained was a child younger than 17 years of age;
(2) a felony of the third degree if:
(A) the actor recklessly exposes the victim to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury;
(B) the actor restrains an individual the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant; or
(C) the actor while in custody restrains any other person; or
(3) notwithstanding Subdivision (2)(B), a felony of the second degree if the actor restrains an individual the actor knows is a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a peace officer or judge.
(d) It is no offense to detain or move another under this section when it is for the purpose of effecting a lawful arrest or detaining an individual lawfully arrested.
(e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) the person restrained was a child who is 14 years of age or older and younger than 17 years of age;
(2) the actor does not restrain the child by force, intimidation, or deception; and
(3) the actor is not more than three years older than the child.

Chapter 20A. Trafficking of Persons

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 20A.03. Continuous Trafficking of Persons

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if, during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, the person engages two or more times in conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02 against one or more victims.

(b) If a jury is the trier of fact, members of the jury are not required to agree unanimously on which specific conduct engaged in by the defendant constituted an offense under Section 20A.02 or on which exact date the defendant engaged in that conduct. The jury must agree unanimously that the defendant, during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, engaged in conduct that constituted an offense under Section 20A.02.

(c) If the victim of an offense under Subsection (a) is the same victim as a victim of an offense under Section 20A.02, a defendant may not be convicted of the offense under Section 20A.02 in the same criminal action as the offense under Subsection (a), unless the offense under Section 20A.02:

(1) is charged in the alternative;

(2) occurred outside the period in which the offense alleged under Subsection (a) was committed; or

(3) is considered by the trier of fact to be a lesser included offense of the offense alleged under Subsection (a).

(d) A defendant may not be charged with more than one count under Subsection (a) if all of the conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02 is alleged to have been committed against the same victim.

(e) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 25 years.

§ 20A.02. Trafficking of Persons

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:

(1) traffics another person with the intent that the trafficked person engage in forced labor or services;

(2) receives a benefit from participating in a venture that involves an activity described by Subdivision (1), including by receiving labor or services the person knows are forced labor or services;

(3) traffics another person and, through force, fraud, or coercion, causes the trafficked person to engage in conduct prohibited by:

(A) Section 43.02 (Prostitution);

(B) Section 43.03 (Promotion of Prostitution);

(B-1) Section 43.031 (Online Promotion of Prostitution);

(C) Section 43.04 (Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution);

(C-1) Section 43.041 (Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution); or

(D) Section 43.05 (Compelling Prostitution);

(4) receives a benefit from participating in a venture that involves an activity described by Subdivision (3) or engages in sexual conduct with a person trafficked in the manner described in Subdivision (3);

(5) traffics a child with the intent that the trafficked child engage in forced labor or services;

(6) receives a benefit from participating in a venture that involves an activity described by Subdivision (5), including by receiving labor or services the person knows are forced labor or services;

(7) traffics a child and by any means causes the trafficked child to engage in, or become the victim of, conduct prohibited by:

(A) Section 21.02 (Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children);

(B) Section 21.11 (Indecency with a Child);

(C) Section 22.011 (Sexual Assault);

(D) Section 22.021 (Aggravated Sexual Assault);

(E) Section 43.02 (Prostitution);

(F) Section 43.03 (Promotion of Prostitution);

(F-1) Section 43.031 (Online Promotion of Prostitution);

(G) Section 43.04 (Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution);

(G-1) Section 43.041 (Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution);

(H) Section 43.05 (Compelling Prostitution);

(I) Section 43.25 (Sexual Performance by a Child);

(J) Section 43.251 (Employment Harmful to Children); or

(K) Section 43.26 (Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography); or

(8) receives a benefit from participating in a venture that involves an activity described by Subdivision (7) or engages in sexual conduct with a child trafficked in the manner described in Subdivision (7).

(a-1) For purposes of Subsection (a)(3), “coercion” as defined by Section 1.07 includes:

(1) destroying, concealing, confiscating, or withholding from a trafficked person, or threatening to destroy, conceal, confiscate, or withhold from a trafficked person, the person’s actual or purported:

(A) government records; or

(B) identifying information or documents;

(2) causing a trafficked person, without the person’s consent, to become intoxicated, as defined by Section 49.01, to a degree that impairs the person’s ability to appraise the nature of the prohibited conduct or to resist engaging in that conduct; or

(3) withholding alcohol or a controlled substance to a degree that impairs the ability of a trafficked person with a chemical dependency, as defined by Section 462.001, Health and Safety Code, to appraise the nature of the prohibited conduct or to resist engaging in that conduct.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree. An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if:

(1) the applicable conduct constitutes an offense under Subsection (a)(5), (6), (7), or (8), regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the child at the time of the offense;

(2) the commission of the offense results in the death of the person who is trafficked; or

(3) the commission of the offense results in the death of an unborn child of the person who is trafficked.

(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

(d) If the victim of an offense under Subsection (a)(7)(A) is the same victim as a victim of an offense under Section 21.02, a defendant may not be convicted of the offense under Section 21.02 in the same criminal action as the offense under Subsection (a)(7)(A) unless the offense under Section 21.02:

(1) is charged in the alternative;

(2) occurred outside the period in which the offense alleged under Subsection (a)(7)(A) was committed; or(3) is considered by the trier of fact to be a lesser included offense of the offense alleged under Subsection (a)(7)(A).

Chapter 21. Sexual Offenses

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 21.02. Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section, “child” has the meaning assigned by Section 22.011(c).
(b) A person commits an offense if:
(1) during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, the person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more victims; and
(2) at the time of the commission of each of the acts of sexual abuse, the actor is 17 years of age or older and the victim is a child younger than 14 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the victim at the time of the offense.
(c) For purposes of this section, “act of sexual abuse” means any act that is a violation of one or more of the following penal laws:
(1) aggravated kidnapping under Section 20.04(a)(4), if the actor committed the offense with the intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually;
(2) indecency with a child under Section 21.11(a)(1), if the actor committed the offense in a manner other than by touching, including touching through clothing, the breast of a child;
(3) sexual assault under Section 22.011;
(4) aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021;
(5) burglary under Section 30.02, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (d) of that section and the actor committed the offense with the intent to commit an offense listed in Subdivisions (1)-(4);
(6) sexual performance by a child under Section 43.25;
(7) trafficking of persons under Section 20A.02(a)(7) or (8); and
(8) compelling prostitution under Section 43.05(a)(2).
(d) If a jury is the trier of fact, members of the jury are not required to agree unanimously on which specific acts of sexual abuse were committed by the defendant or the exact date when those acts were committed. The jury must agree unanimously that the defendant, during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, committed two or more acts of sexual abuse.
(e) A defendant may not be convicted in the same criminal action of an offense listed under Subsection (c) the victim of which is the same victim as a victim of the offense alleged under Subsection (b) unless the offense listed in Subsection (c):
(1) is charged in the alternative;
(2) occurred outside the period in which the offense alleged under Subsection (b) was committed; or
(3) is considered by the trier of fact to be a lesser included offense of the offense alleged under Subsection (b).
(f) A defendant may not be charged with more than one count under Subsection (b) if all of the specific acts of sexual abuse that are alleged to have been committed are alleged to have been committed against a single victim.
(g) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor:
(1) was not more than five years older than:
(A) the victim of the offense, if the offense is alleged to have been committed against only one victim; or
(B) the youngest victim of the offense, if the offense is alleged to have been committed against more than one victim;
(2) did not use duress, force, or a threat against a victim at the time of the commission of any of the acts of sexual abuse alleged as an element of the offense; and
(3) at the time of the commission of any of the acts of sexual abuse alleged as an element of the offense:
(A) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or
(B) was not a person who under Chapter 62 had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section or an act of sexual abuse as described by Subsection (c).
(h) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life, or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 25 years.

 

§ 21.08. Indecent Exposure

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if he exposes his anus or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

§ 21.11. Indecency With a Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex and regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, the person:
(1) engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact; or
(2) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
(A) exposes the person’s anus or any part of the person’s genitals, knowing the child is present; or
(B) causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor:
(1) was not more than three years older than the victim and of the opposite sex;
(2) did not use duress, force, or a threat against the victim at the time of the offense; and
(3) at the time of the offense:
(A) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or
(B) was not a person who under Chapter 62 had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section.
(b-1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense.
(c) In this section, “sexual contact” means the following acts, if committed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
(1) any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or
(2) any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a person.
(d) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree and an offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a felony of the third degree.

§ 21.15. Invasive Visual Recording

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section:

(1) “Female breast” means any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.

(2) “Intimate area” means the naked or clothed genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female breast of a person.

(3) “Changing room” means a room or portioned area provided for or primarily used for the changing of clothing and includes dressing rooms, locker rooms, and swimwear changing areas.

(4) “Promote” has the meaning assigned by Section 43.21.

(b) A person commits an offense if, without the other person’s consent and with intent to invade the privacy of the other person, the person:

(1) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of an intimate area of another person if the other person has a reasonable expectation that the intimate area is not subject to public view;

(2) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another in a bathroom or changing room ; or

(3) knowing the character and content of the photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission, promotes a photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission described by Subdivision (1) or (2).

(c) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

(d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.

(e) For purposes of Subsection (b)(2), a sign or signs posted indicating that the person is being photographed or that a visual image of the person is being recorded, broadcast, or transmitted is not sufficient to establish the person’s consent under that subdivision.

§ 21.16. Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section:

(1) “Intimate parts” means the naked genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female nipple of a person.

(2) “Promote” means to procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do any of the above.

(3) “Sexual conduct” means sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse.

(4) “Simulated” means the explicit depiction of sexual conduct that creates the appearance of actual sexual conduct and during which a person engaging in the conduct exhibits any uncovered portion of the breasts, genitals, or buttocks.

(5) “Visual material” means:

(A) any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide or any photographic reproduction that contains or incorporates in any manner any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide; or

(B) any disk, diskette, or other physical medium that allows an image to be displayed on a computer or other video screen and any image transmitted to a computer or other video screen by telephone line, cable, satellite transmission, or other method.

(b) A person commits an offense if:

(1) without the effective consent of the depicted person and with the intent to harm that person, the person discloses visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct;

(2) at the time of the disclosure, the person knows or has reason to believe that the visual material was obtained by the person or created under circumstances in which the depicted person had a reasonable expectation that the visual material would remain private;

(3) the disclosure of the visual material causes harm to the depicted person; and

(4) the disclosure of the visual material reveals the identity of the depicted person in any manner, including through:

(A) any accompanying or subsequent information or material related to the visual material; or

(B) information or material provided by a third party in response to the disclosure of the visual material.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens to disclose, without the consent of the depicted person, visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct and the actor makes the threat to obtain a benefit:

(1) in return for not making the disclosure; or

(2) in connection with the threatened disclosure.

(d) A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content of the visual material, the person promotes visual material described by Subsection (b) on an Internet website or other forum for publication that is owned or operated by the person.

(e) It is not a defense to prosecution under this section that the depicted person:

(1) created or consented to the creation of the visual material; or

(2) voluntarily transmitted the visual material to the actor.

(f) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (b) or (d) that:

(1) the disclosure or promotion is made in the course of:

(A) lawful and common practices of law enforcement or medical treatment;

(B) reporting unlawful activity; or

(C) a legal proceeding, if the disclosure or promotion is permitted or required by law;

(2) the disclosure or promotion consists of visual material depicting in a public or commercial setting only a person’s voluntary exposure of:

(A) the person’s intimate parts; or

(B) the person engaging in sexual conduct; or

(3) the actor is an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230, and the disclosure or promotion consists of visual material provided by another person.

(g) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.(h) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

§ 21.17. Voyeurism

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor, observes another person without the other person’s consent while the other person is in a dwelling or structure in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) or (d), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the actor has previously been convicted two or more times of an offense under this section.
(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the victim was a child younger than 14 years of age at the time of the offense.
(e) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

§ 21.18. Sexual Coercion

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section:
(1) “Intimate visual material” means the visual material described by Section 21.16(b)(1) or (c).
(2) “Sexual conduct” has the meaning assigned by Section 43.25.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens, including by coercion or extortion, to commit an offense under Chapter 43 or Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8), 21.02, 21.08, 21.11, 21.12, 21.15, 21.16, 21.17, 22.011, or 22.021 to obtain, in return for not committing the threatened offense or in connection with the threatened offense, any of the following benefits:
(1) intimate visual material;
(2) an act involving sexual conduct causing arousal or gratification; or
(3) a monetary benefit or other benefit of value.
(c) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens, including by coercion or extortion, to commit an offense under Chapter 19 or 20 or Section 20A.02(a)(1), (2), (5), or (6) to obtain, in return for not committing the threatened offense or in connection with the threatened offense, either of the following benefits:
(1) intimate visual material; or
(2) an act involving sexual conduct causing arousal or gratification.
(d) This section applies to a threat regardless of how that threat is communicated, including a threat transmitted through e-mail or an Internet website, social media account, or chat room and a threat made by other electronic or technological means.
(e) An offense under this section is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense under this section.

§ 21.19. Unlawful Electronic Transmission of Sexually Explicit Visual Material

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section, “intimate parts,” “sexual conduct,” and “visual material” have the meanings assigned by Section 21.16.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly transmits by electronic means visual material that:

(1) depicts:

(A) any person engaging in sexual conduct or with the person’s intimate parts exposed; or

(B) covered genitals of a male person that are in a discernibly turgid state; and

(2) is not sent at the request of or with the express consent of the recipient.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.

Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 22.01. Assault

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;

(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or

(3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed against:

(1) a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;

(2) a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if:

(A) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, 21.11, or 25.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; or

(B) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth;

(3) a person who contracts with government to perform a service in a facility as defined by Section 1.07(a)(14), Penal Code, or Section 51.02(13) or (14), Family Code, or an employee of that person:

(A) while the person or employee is engaged in performing a service within the scope of the contract, if the actor knows the person or employee is authorized by government to provide the service; or

(B) in retaliation for or on account of the person’s or employee’s performance of a service within the scope of the contract;

(4) a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer;

(5) a person the actor knows is emergency services personnel while the person is providing emergency services;

(6) a pregnant individual to force the individual to have an abortion; or

(7) a person the actor knows is pregnant at the time of the offense.

(b-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), an offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed:

(1) while the actor is committed to a civil commitment facility; and

(2) against:

(A) an officer or employee of the Texas Civil Commitment Office:

(i) while the officer or employee is lawfully discharging an official duty at a civil commitment facility; or

(ii) in retaliation for or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty by the officer or employee; or

(B) a person who contracts with the state to perform a service in a civil commitment facility or an employee of that person:

(i) while the person or employee is engaged in performing a service within the scope of the contract, if the actor knows the person or employee is authorized by the state to provide the service; or

(ii) in retaliation for or on account of the person’s or employee’s performance of a service within the scope of the contract.

(b-2) Notwithstanding Subsection (b)(1), an offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree if the offense is committed against a person the actor knows is a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a peace officer or judge.

(b-3) Notwithstanding Subsection (b)(2), an offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree if:

(1) the offense is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code;

(2) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, or 21.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; and

(3) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2) or (3) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is:

(1) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(3) against an elderly individual or disabled individual, as those terms are defined by Section 22.04;

(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed by a person who is not a sports participant against a person the actor knows is a sports participant either:

(A) while the participant is performing duties or responsibilities in the participant’s capacity as a sports participant; or

(B) in retaliation for or on account of the participant’s performance of a duty or responsibility within the participant’s capacity as a sports participant; or

(3) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed against a pregnant individual to force the individual to have an abortion.

(d) For purposes of Subsection (b), the actor is presumed to have known the person assaulted was a public servant, a security officer, or emergency services personnel if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge indicating the person’s employment as a public servant or status as a security officer or emergency services personnel.

(e) In this section:

(1) “Emergency services personnel” includes firefighters, emergency medical services personnel as defined by Section 773. 003, Health and Safety Code, emergency room personnel, and other individuals who, in the course and scope of employment or as a volunteer, provide services for the benefit of the general public during emergency situations.

(2) Repealed by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 788, § 6.

(3) “Security officer” means a commissioned security officer as defined by Section 1702.002, Occupations Code, or a noncommissioned security officer registered under Section 1702.221, Occupations Code.

(4) “Sports participant” means a person who participates in any official capacity with respect to an interscholastic, intercollegiate, or other organized amateur or professional athletic competition and includes an athlete, referee, umpire, linesman, coach, instructor, administrator, or staff member.

(f) For the purposes of Subsections (b)(2)(A) and (b-3)(2) :

(1) a defendant has been previously convicted of an offense listed in those subsections committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision; and

(2) a conviction under the laws of another state for an offense containing elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense listed in those subsections is a conviction of the offense listed.

(g) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.

§ 22.011. Sexual Assault

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if:

(1) the person intentionally or knowingly:

(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;

(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or

(C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(2) regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, the person intentionally or knowingly:

(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;

(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;

(C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;

(D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.

(b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if:

(1) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force, violence, or coercion;

(2) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person or to cause harm to the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;

(3) the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist;

(4) the actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the other person is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it;

(5) the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unaware that the sexual assault is occurring;

(6) the actor has intentionally impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control the other person’s conduct by administering any substance without the other person’s knowledge;

(7) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the other person believes that the actor has the ability to execute the threat;

(8) the actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate;

(9) the actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, who is a patient or former patient of the actor, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the actor;

(10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser;

(11) the actor is an employee of a facility where the other person is a resident, unless the employee and resident are formally or informally married to each other under Chapter 2, Family Code; or

(12) the actor is a health care services provider who, in the course of performing an assisted reproduction procedure on the other person, uses human reproductive material from a donor knowing that the other person has not expressly consented to the use of material from that donor.

(c) In this section:

(1) “Child” means a person younger than 17 years of age.

(2) “Spouse” means a person who is legally married to another.

(3) “Health care services provider” means:

(A) a physician licensed under Subtitle B, Title 3, Occupations Code;1

(B) a chiropractor licensed under Chapter 201, Occupations Code;

(C) a physical therapist licensed under Chapter 453, Occupations Code;

(D) a physician assistant licensed under Chapter 204, Occupations Code; or

(E) a registered nurse, a vocational nurse, or an advanced practice nurse licensed under Chapter 301, Occupations Code.

(4) “Mental health services provider” means an individual, licensed or unlicensed, who performs or purports to perform mental health services, including a:

(A) licensed social worker as defined by Section 505.002, Occupations Code;

(B) chemical dependency counselor as defined by Section 504.001, Occupations Code;

(C) licensed professional counselor as defined by Section 503.002, Occupations Code;

(D) licensed marriage and family therapist as defined by Section 502.002, Occupations Code;

(E) member of the clergy;

(F) psychologist offering psychological services as defined by Section 501.003, Occupations Code; or

(G) special officer for mental health assignment certified under Section 1701.404, Occupations Code.

(5) “Employee of a facility” means a person who is an employee of a facility defined by Section 250.001, Health and Safety Code, or any other person who provides services for a facility for compensation, including a contract laborer.

(6) “Assisted reproduction” and “donor” have the meanings assigned by Section 160.102, Family Code.

(7) “Human reproductive material” means:

(A) a human spermatozoon or ovum; or

(B) a human organism at any stage of development from fertilized ovum to embryo.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2) that the conduct consisted of medical care for the child and did not include any contact between the anus or sexual organ of the child and the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of the actor or a third party.

(e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2):

(1) that the actor was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense; or

(2) that:

(A) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense:

(i) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or

(ii) was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section; and

(B) the victim:

(i) was a child of 14 years of age or older; and

(ii) was not:

(a) a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01; or

(b) a person with whom the actor was prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse under Section 25.02.

(f) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that an offense under this section is:

(1) a felony of the first degree if the victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01; or

<Text of (f)(2) as added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., ch. 436 (S.B. 1259), § 2>

(2) a state jail felony if the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(1) and the actor has not received express consent as described by Subsection (b)(12).

<Text of (f)(2) as added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., ch. 738 (H.B. 667), § 2>(2) a person with whom the actor was prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse under Section 25.02.

§ 22.012. Indecent Assault

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if, without the other person’s consent and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person:

(1) touches the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person;

(2) touches another person with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of any person;

(3) exposes or attempts to expose another person’s genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female areola; or

(4) causes another person to contact the blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of any person.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

§ 22.02. Aggravated Assault

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person commits assault as defined in § 22.01 and the person:

(1) causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; or

(2) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if:

(1) the actor uses a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault and causes serious bodily injury to a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code;

(2) regardless of whether the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2), the offense is committed:

(A) by a public servant acting under color of the servant’s office or employment;

(B) against a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;

(C) in retaliation against or on account of the service of another as a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who has reported the occurrence of a crime; or

(D) against a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or

(3) the actor is in a motor vehicle, as defined by Section 501.002, Transportation Code, and:

(A) knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building, or vehicle;

(B) is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied; and

(C) in discharging the firearm, causes serious bodily injury to any person.

(c) The actor is presumed to have known the person assaulted was a public servant or a security officer if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge indicating the person’s employment as a public servant or status as a security officer.

(d) In this section, “security officer” means a commissioned security officer as defined by Section 1702.002, Occupations Code, or a noncommissioned security officer registered under Section 1702.221, Occupations Code.

§ 22.021. Aggravated Sexual Assault

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense:
(1) if the person:
(A) intentionally or knowingly:
(i) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or
(iii) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(B) regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, intentionally or knowingly:
(i) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
(iii) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
(iv) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(v) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; and
(2) if:
(A) the person:
(i) causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or another person in the course of the same criminal episode;
(ii) by acts or words places the victim in fear that any person will become the victim of an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person;
(iii) by acts or words occurring in the presence of the victim threatens to cause any person to become the victim of an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or to cause the death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person;
(iv) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of the same criminal episode;
(v) acts in concert with another who engages in conduct described by Subdivision (1) directed toward the same victim and occurring during the course of the same criminal episode; or
(vi) with the intent of facilitating the commission of the offense, administers or provides to the victim of the offense any substance capable of impairing the victim’s ability to appraise the nature of the act or to resist the act ;
(B) the victim is younger than 14 years of age, regardless of whether the person knows the age of the victim at the time of the offense; or
(C) the victim is an elderly individual or a disabled individual.
(b) In this section:
(1) “Child” has the meaning assigned by Section 22.011(c).
(2) “Elderly individual” has the meaning assigned by Section 22.04(c).
(3) “Disabled individual” means a person older than 13 years of age who by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect the person’s self from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for the person’s self.
(c) An aggravated sexual assault under this section is without the consent of the other person if the aggravated sexual assault occurs under the same circumstances listed in Section 22.011(b).
(d) The defense provided by Section 22.011(d) applies to this section.
(e) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.
(f) The minimum term of imprisonment for an offense under this section is increased to 25 years if:
(1) the victim of the offense is younger than six years of age at the time the offense is committed; or
(2) the victim of the offense is younger than 14 years of age at the time the offense is committed and the actor commits the offense in a manner described by Subsection (a)(2)(A).

§ 22.07. Terroristic Threat

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:
(1) cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
(2) place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
(3) prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place;
(4) cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service;
(5) place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or
(6) influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.
(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class B misdemeanor.
(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the offense:
(1) is committed against a member of the person’s family or household or otherwise constitutes family violence; or
(2) is committed against a public servant.
(c-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (c)(2), an offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a state jail felony if the offense is committed against a person the actor knows is a peace officer or judge.
(d) An offense under Subsection (a)(3) is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the actor causes pecuniary loss of $1,500 or more to the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a)(4), (a)(5), or (a)(6) is a felony of the third degree.
(f) In this section:
(1) “Family” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.003, Family Code.
(2) “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004, Family Code.
(3) “Household” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.005, Family Code.
(g) For purposes of Subsection (d), the amount of pecuniary loss is the amount of economic loss suffered by the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance as a result of the prevention or interruption of the occupation or use of the building, room, place, or conveyance.

Title 6. Offenses Against the Family

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 25. Offenses Against the Family

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 25.01. Bigamy

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) An individual commits an offense if:

(1) he is legally married and he:

(A) purports to marry or does marry a person other than his spouse in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the actor’s prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or

(B) lives with a person other than his spouse in this state under the appearance of being married; or

(2) he knows that a married person other than his spouse is married and he:

(A) purports to marry or does marry that person in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the person’s prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or

(B) lives with that person in this state under the appearance of being married.

(b) For purposes of this section, “under the appearance of being married” means holding out that the parties are married with cohabitation and an intent to be married by either party.

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1) that the actor reasonably believed at the time of the commission of the offense that the actor and the person whom the actor married or purported to marry or with whom the actor lived under the appearance of being married were legally eligible to be married because the actor’s prior marriage was void or had been dissolved by death, divorce, or annulment. For purposes of this subsection, an actor’s belief is reasonable if the belief is substantiated by a certified copy of a death certificate or other signed document issued by a court.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the lawful wife or husband of the actor may testify both for or against the actor concerning proof of the original marriage.

(e) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that if at the time of the commission of the offense, the person whom the actor marries or purports to marry or with whom the actor lives under the appearance of being married is:

(1) 17 years of age , the offense is a felony of the second degree; or

(2) 16 years of age or younger, the offense is a felony of the first degree.

§ 25.02. Prohibited Sexual Conduct

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person the actor knows to be, without regard to legitimacy:

(1) the actor’s ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption;

(2) the actor’s current or former stepchild or stepparent;

(3) the actor’s parent’s brother or sister of the whole or half blood;

(4) the actor’s brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(5) the children of the actor’s brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption; or

(6) the son or daughter of the actor’s aunt or uncle of the whole or half blood or by adoption.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Deviate sexual intercourse” means any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

(2) “Sexual intercourse” means any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.

(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, unless the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(1), in which event the offense is a felony of the second degree.

§ 25.03. Interference With Child Custody

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person takes or retains a child younger than 18 years of age :

(1) when the person knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the child’s custody;

(2) when the person has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or

(3) outside of the United States with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access and without the permission of that person.

(b) A noncustodial parent commits an offense if, with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years, the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian of the child.

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2) that the actor returned the child to the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, within three days after the date of the commission of the offense.

(c-1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(3) that:

(1) the taking or retention of the child was pursuant to a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child; or

(2) notwithstanding any violation of a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child, the actor’s retention of the child was due only to circumstances beyond the actor’s control and the actor promptly provided notice or made reasonable attempts to provide notice of those circumstances to the other person entitled to possession of or access to the child.

(c-2) Subsection (a)(3) does not apply if, at the time of the offense, the person taking or retaining the child:

(1) was entitled to possession of or access to the child; and

(2) was fleeing the commission or attempted commission of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, against the child or the person.

(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony

§ 25.07. Violation of Certain Court Orders or Conditions of Bond in a Family Violence, Sexual Assault or Abuse, Stalking, or Trafficking Case

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if, in violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence, sexual assault or abuse, indecent assault, stalking, or trafficking case and related to the safety of a victim or the safety of the community, an order issued under Chapter 7A, Code of Criminal Procedure, an order issued under Article 17.292, Code of Criminal Procedure, an order issued under Section 6.504, Family Code, Chapter 83, Family Code, if the temporary ex parte order has been served on the person, or Chapter 85, Family Code, or an order issued by another jurisdiction as provided by Chapter 88, Family Code, the person knowingly or intentionally:

(1) commits family violence or an act in furtherance of an offense under Section 20A.02, 22.011, 22.012, 22.021, or 42.072;

(2) communicates:

(A) directly with a protected individual or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner;

(B) a threat through any person to a protected individual or a member of the family or household; or

(C) in any manner with the protected individual or a member of the family or household except through the person’s attorney or a person appointed by the court, if the violation is of an order described by this subsection and the order prohibits any communication with a protected individual or a member of the family or household;

(3) goes to or near any of the following places as specifically described in the order or condition of bond:

(A) the residence or place of employment or business of a protected individual or a member of the family or household; or

(B) any child care facility, residence, or school where a child protected by the order or condition of bond normally resides or attends;

(4) possesses a firearm;

(5) harms, threatens, or interferes with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by a person protected by the order or condition of bond; or

(6) removes, attempts to remove, or otherwise tampers with the normal functioning of a global positioning monitoring system.

(a-1) For purposes of Subsection (a)(5), possession of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal by a person means:

(1) actual care, custody, control, or management of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal by the person; or

(2) constructive possession of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal owned by the person or for which the person has been the primary caregiver.

(b) For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Family violence,” “family,” “household,” and “member of a household” have the meanings assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

(2) “Firearm” has the meaning assigned by Chapter 46.

(2-a) “Global positioning monitoring system” has the meaning assigned by Article 17.49, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(3) “Assistance animal” has the meaning assigned by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.

(4) “Sexual abuse” means any act as described by Section 21.02 or 21.11.

(5) “Sexual assault” means any act as described by Section 22.011 or 22.021.

(6) “Stalking” means any conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 42.072.

(7) “Trafficking” means any conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02.

(8) “Indecent assault” means any conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 22.012.

(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

(d) Reconciliatory actions or agreements made by persons affected by an order do not affect the validity of the order or the duty of a peace officer to enforce this section.

(e) A peace officer investigating conduct that may constitute an offense under this section for a violation of an order may not arrest a person protected by that order for a violation of that order.

(f) It is not a defense to prosecution under this section that certain information has been excluded, as provided by Section 85.007, Family Code, or Article 17.292, Code of Criminal Procedure, from an order to which this section applies.

(g) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except the offense is:

(1) subject to Subdivision (2), a state jail felony if it is shown at the trial of the offense that the defendant violated an order issued as a result of an application filed under Article 7A.01(a-1), Code of Criminal Procedure; or

(2) a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant:

(A) has previously been convicted two or more times of an offense under this section or two or more times of an offense under Section 25.072, or has previously been convicted of an offense under this section and an offense under Section 25.072; or

(B) has violated the order or condition of bond by committing an assault or the offense of stalking.

Title 7. Offenses Against Property

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 30. Burglary and Criminal Trespass

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 33.022. Electronic Access Interference

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person, other than a network provider or online service provider acting for a legitimate business purpose, commits an offense if the person intentionally interrupts or suspends access to a computer system or computer network without the effective consent of the owner.
(b) An offense under this section is a third degree felony.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person acted with the intent to facilitate a lawful seizure or search of, or lawful access to, a computer, computer network, or computer system for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

§ 30.05. Criminal Trespass

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person enters or remains on or in property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, or an aircraft or other vehicle, without effective consent and the person:

(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or

(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Entry” means the intrusion of the entire body.

(2) “Notice” means:

(A) oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner;

(B) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock;

(C) a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden;

(D) the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property, provided that the marks are:

(i) vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width;

(ii) placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground or more than five feet from the ground; and

(iii) placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than:

(a) 100 feet apart on forest land; or

(b) 1,000 feet apart on land other than forest land; or

(E) the visible presence on the property of a crop grown for human consumption that is under cultivation, in the process of being harvested, or marketable if harvested at the time of entry.

(3) “Shelter center” has the meaning assigned by Section 51.002, Human Resources Code.

(4) “Forest land” means land on which the trees are potentially valuable for timber products.

(5) “Agricultural land” has the meaning assigned by Section 75.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

(6) “Superfund site” means a facility that:

(A) is on the National Priorities List established under Section 105 of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Section 9605); or

(B) is listed on the state registry established under Section 361.181, Health and Safety Code.

(7) “Critical infrastructure facility” means one of the following, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders:

(A) a chemical manufacturing facility;

(B) a refinery;

(C) an electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station, electrical control center, or electrical transmission or distribution facility;

(D) a water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant, or pump station;

(E) a natural gas transmission compressor station;

(F) a liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility;

(G) a telecommunications central switching office;

(H) a port, railroad switching yard, trucking terminal, or other freight transportation facility;

(I) a gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment, or fractionation of natural gas; or

(J) a transmission facility used by a federally licensed radio or television station.

(8) “Protected freshwater area” has the meaning assigned by Section 90.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.

(9) “Recognized state” means another state with which the attorney general of this state, with the approval of the governor of this state, negotiated an agreement after determining that the other state:

(A) has firearm proficiency requirements for peace officers; and

(B) fully recognizes the right of peace officers commissioned in this state to carry weapons in the other state.

(10) “Recreational vehicle park” has the meaning assigned by Section 13.087, Water Code.

(11) “Residential land” means real property improved by a dwelling and zoned for or otherwise authorized for single-family or multifamily use.

(12) “Institution of higher education” has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(c) Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1138, § 4.

(d) An offense under this section is:

(1) a Class B misdemeanor, except as provided by Subdivisions (2) and (3);

(2) a Class C misdemeanor, except as provided by Subdivision (3), if the offense is committed:

(A) on agricultural land and within 100 feet of the boundary of the land; or

(B) on residential land and within 100 feet of a protected freshwater area; and

(3) a Class A misdemeanor if:

(A) the offense is committed:

(i) in a habitation or a shelter center;

(ii) on a Superfund site; or

(iii) on or in a critical infrastructure facility;

(B) the offense is committed on or in property of an institution of higher education and it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted of:

(i) an offense under this section relating to entering or remaining on or in property of an institution of higher education; or

(ii) an offense under Section 51.204(b)(1), Education Code, relating to trespassing on the grounds of an institution of higher education; or

(C) the person carries a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.

(d-1) For the purposes of Subsection (d)(3)(B), a person has previously been convicted of an offense described by that paragraph if the person was adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication community supervision, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the person was subsequently discharged from deferred adjudication community supervision.

(d-2) At the punishment stage of a trial in which the attorney representing the state seeks the increase in punishment provided by Subsection (d)(3)(B), the defendant may raise the issue as to whether, at the time of the instant offense or the previous offense, the defendant was engaging in speech or expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 8, Article I, Texas Constitution. If the defendant proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the increase in punishment provided by Subsection (d)(3)(B) does not apply.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor at the time of the offense was:

(1) a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel, as defined by Section 773.003, Health and Safety Code, acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty under exigent circumstances;

(2) a person who was:

(A) an employee or agent of:

(i) an electric utility, as defined by Section 31.002, Utilities Code;

(ii) a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code;

(iii) a video service provider or cable service provider, as defined by Section 66.002, Utilities Code;

(iv) a gas utility, as defined by Section 101.003, Utilities Code, which for the purposes of this subsection includes a municipally owned utility as defined by that section;

(v) a gas utility, as defined by Section 121.001, Utilities Code;

(vi) a pipeline used for the transportation or sale of oil, gas, or related products; or

(vii) an electric cooperative or municipally owned utility, as defined by Section 11.003, Utilities Code; and

(B) performing a duty within the scope of that employment or agency; or

(3) a person who was:

(A) employed by or acting as agent for an entity that had, or that the person reasonably believed had, effective consent or authorization provided by law to enter the property; and

(B) performing a duty within the scope of that employment or agency.

(f) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the basis on which entry on the property or land or in the building was forbidden is that entry with a handgun was forbidden; and

(2) the person was carrying:

(A) a license issued under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code,1 to carry a handgun; and

(B) a handgun:

(i) in a concealed manner; or

(ii) in a shoulder or belt holster.

(f-1) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the basis on which entry on the property was forbidden is that entry with a firearm or firearm ammunition was forbidden;

(2) the actor is:

(A) an owner of an apartment in a condominium regime governed by Chapter 81, Property Code;

(B) an owner of a condominium unit governed by Chapter 82, Property Code;

(C) a tenant or guest of an owner described by Paragraph (A) or (B); or

(D) a guest of a tenant of an owner described by Paragraph (A) or (B);

(3) the actor:

(A) carries or stores a firearm or firearm ammunition in the condominium apartment or unit owner’s apartment or unit;

(B) carries a firearm or firearm ammunition directly en route to or from the condominium apartment or unit owner’s apartment or unit;

(C) carries a firearm or firearm ammunition directly en route to or from the actor’s vehicle located in a parking area provided for residents or guests of the condominium property; or

(D) carries or stores a firearm or firearm ammunition in the actor’s vehicle located in a parking area provided for residents or guests of the condominium property; and

(4) the actor is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm or firearm ammunition.

(f-2) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the basis on which entry on a leased premises governed by Chapter 92, Property Code, was forbidden is that entry with a firearm or firearm ammunition was forbidden;

(2) the actor is a tenant of the leased premises or the tenant’s guest;

(3) the actor:

(A) carries or stores a firearm or firearm ammunition in the tenant’s rental unit;

(B) carries a firearm or firearm ammunition directly en route to or from the tenant’s rental unit;

(C) carries a firearm or firearm ammunition directly en route to or from the actor’s vehicle located in a parking area provided for tenants or guests by the landlord of the leased premises; or

(D) carries or stores a firearm or firearm ammunition in the actor’s vehicle located in a parking area provided for tenants or guests by the landlord of the leased premises; and

(4) the actor is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm or firearm ammunition.

(f-3) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the basis on which entry on a leased premises governed by Chapter 94, Property Code, was forbidden is that entry with a firearm or firearm ammunition was forbidden;

(2) the actor is a tenant of a manufactured home lot or the tenant’s guest;

(3) the actor:

(A) carries or stores a firearm or firearm ammunition in the tenant’s manufactured home;

(B) carries a firearm or firearm ammunition directly en route to or from the tenant’s manufactured home;

(C) carries a firearm or firearm ammunition directly en route to or from the actor’s vehicle located in a parking area provided for tenants or tenants’ guests by the landlord of the leased premises; or

(D) carries or stores a firearm or firearm ammunition in the actor’s vehicle located in a parking area provided for tenants or tenants’ guests by the landlord of the leased premises; and

(4) the actor is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm or firearm ammunition.

(g) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor entered a railroad switching yard or any part of a railroad switching yard and was at that time an employee or a representative of employees exercising a right under the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. Section 151 et seq.).

(h) At the punishment stage of a trial in which the attorney representing the state seeks the increase in punishment provided by Subsection (d)(3)(A)(iii), the defendant may raise the issue as to whether the defendant entered or remained on or in a critical infrastructure facility as part of a peaceful or lawful assembly, including an attempt to exercise rights guaranteed by state or federal labor laws. If the defendant proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the increase in punishment provided by Subsection (d)(3)(A)(iii) does not apply.

(i) This section does not apply if:

(1) the basis on which entry on the property or land or in the building was forbidden is that entry with a handgun or other weapon was forbidden; and

(2) the actor at the time of the offense was a peace officer, including a commissioned peace officer of a recognized state, or a special investigator under Article 2.122, Code of Criminal Procedure, regardless of whether the peace officer or special investigator was engaged in the actual discharge of an official duty while carrying the weapon.

(j) Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1138, § 4.

Chapter 32. Fraud

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter D. Other Deceptive

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Sec. 32.51 Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section:

(1) “Identifying information” means information that alone or in conjunction with other information identifies a person, including a person’s:

(A) name and date of birth;

(B) unique biometric data, including the person’s fingerprint, voice print, or retina or iris image;

(C) unique electronic identification number, address, routing code, or financial institution account number;

(D) telecommunication identifying information or access device; and

(E) social security number or other government-issued identification number.

(2) “Telecommunication access device” means a card, plate, code, account number, personal identification number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier or means of account access that alone or in conjunction with another telecommunication access device may be used to:

(A) obtain money, goods, services, or other thing of value; or

(B) initiate a transfer of funds other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person, with the intent to harm or defraud another, obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses an item of:

(1) identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent or effective consent;

(2) information concerning a deceased natural person, including a stillborn infant or fetus, that would be identifying information of that person were that person alive, if the item of information is obtained, possessed, transferred, or used without legal authorization; or

(3) identifying information of a child younger than 18 years of age.

(b-1) For the purposes of Subsection (b), the actor is presumed to have the intent to harm or defraud another if the actor possesses:

(1) the identifying information of three or more other persons;

(2) information described by Subsection (b)(2) concerning three or more deceased persons; or

(3) information described by Subdivision (1) or (2) concerning three or more persons or deceased persons.

(b-2) The presumption established under Subsection (b-1) does not apply to a business or other commercial entity or a government agency that is engaged in a business activity or governmental function that does not violate a penal law of this state.

(c) An offense under this section is:

(1) a state jail felony if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is less than five;

(2) a felony of the third degree if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is five or more but less than 10;

(3) a felony of the second degree if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is 10 or more but less than 50; or

(4) a felony of the first degree if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is 50 or more.

(c-1) An offense described for purposes of punishment by Subsections (c)(1)-(3) is increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:

(1) the offense was committed against an elderly individual as defined by Section 22.04; or

(2) the actor fraudulently used identifying information with the intent to facilitate an offense under Article 62.102, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(d) If a court orders a defendant convicted of an offense under this section to make restitution to the victim of the offense, the court may order the defendant to reimburse the victim for lost income or other expenses, other than attorney’s fees, incurred as a result of the offense.

(e) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

Sec. 33.07 Online Impersonation

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, without obtaining the other person’s consent and with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person, uses the name or persona of another person to:

(1) create a web page on a commercial social networking site or other Internet website; or

(2) post or send one or more messages on or through a commercial social networking site or other Internet website, other than on or through an electronic mail program or message board program.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person:

(1) without obtaining the other person’s consent;

(2) with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication; and

(3) with the intent to harm or defraud any person.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the actor commits the offense with the intent to solicit a response by emergency personnel.

(d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor is any of the following entities or that the actor’s conduct consisted solely of action taken as an employee of any of the following entities:

(1) a commercial social networking site;

(2) an Internet service provider;

(3) an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230;

(4) a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or

(5) a video service provider or cable service provider, as defined by Section 66.002, Utilities Code.

(f) In this section:

(1) “Commercial social networking site” means any business, organization, or other similar entity operating a website that permits persons to become registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users through direct or real-time communication with other users or the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail program or a message board program.

(2) “Identifying information” has the meaning assigned by Section 32.51.

Chapter 33. Computer Crimes

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 33.022. Electronic Access Interference

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person, other than a network provider or online service provider acting for a legitimate business purpose, commits an offense if the person intentionally interrupts or suspends access to a computer system or computer network without the effective consent of the owner.
(b) An offense under this section is a third degree felony.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person acted with the intent to facilitate a lawful seizure or search of, or lawful access to, a computer, computer network, or computer system for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

§ 33.023. Electronic Data Tampering

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section, “ransomware” means a computer contaminant or lock that restricts access by an unauthorized person to a computer, computer system, or computer network or any data in a computer, computer system, or computer network under circumstances in which a person demands money, property, or a service to remove the computer contaminant or lock, restore access to the computer, computer system, computer network, or data, or otherwise remediate the impact of the computer contaminant or lock.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally alters data as it transmits between two computers in a computer network or computer system through deception and without a legitimate business purpose.
(c) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally introduces ransomware onto a computer, computer network, or computer system through deception and without a legitimate business purpose.
(d) Subject to Subsections (d-1) and (d-2), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(d-1) Subject to Subsection (d-2), if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud or harm another, an offense under this section is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor if the aggregate amount involved is less than $100 or cannot be determined;
(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the aggregate amount involved is $100 or more but less than $750;
(3) a Class A misdemeanor if the aggregate amount involved is $750 or more but less than $2,500;
(4) a state jail felony if the aggregate amount involved is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;
(5) a felony of the third degree if the aggregate amount involved is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;
(6) a felony of the second degree if the aggregate amount involved is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; and
(7) a felony of the first degree if the aggregate amount involved is $300,000 or more.
(d-2) If it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant knowingly restricted a victim’s access to privileged information, an offense under this section is:
(1) a state jail felony if the value of the aggregate amount involved is less than $2,500;
(2) a felony of the third degree if:
(A) the value of the aggregate amount involved is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000; or
(B) a client or patient of a victim suffered harm attributable to the offense;
(3) a felony of the second degree if:
(A) the value of the aggregate amount involved is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000; or
(B) a client or patient of a victim suffered bodily injury attributable to the offense; and
(4) a felony of the first degree if:
(A) the value of the aggregate amount involved is $150,000 or more; or
(B) a client or patient of a victim suffered serious bodily injury or death attributable to the offense.
(e) When benefits are obtained, a victim is defrauded or harmed, or property is altered, appropriated, damaged, or deleted in violation of this section, whether or not in a single incident, the conduct may be considered as one offense and the value of the benefits obtained and of the losses incurred because of the fraud, harm, or alteration, appropriation, damage, or deletion of property may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.
(f) A person who is subject to prosecution under this section and any other section of this code may be prosecuted under either or both sections.
(g) Software is not ransomware for the purposes of this section if the software restricts access to data because:
(1) authentication is required to upgrade or access purchased content; or
(2) access to subscription content has been blocked for nonpayment.

§ 33.024. Unlawful Decryption

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally decrypts encrypted private information through deception and without a legitimate business purpose.
(b) Subject to Subsections (b-1) and (b-2), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(b-1) Subject to Subsection (b-2), if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud or harm another, an offense under this section is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the aggregate amount involved is less than $100 or cannot be determined;
(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the aggregate amount involved is $100 or more but less than $750;
(3) a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the aggregate amount involved is $750 or more but less than $2,500;
(4) a state jail felony if the value of the aggregate amount involved is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;
(5) a felony of the third degree if the value of the aggregate amount involved is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;
(6) a felony of the second degree if the value of the aggregate amount involved is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; and
(7) a felony of the first degree if the value of the aggregate amount involved is $300,000 or more.
(b-2) If it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant knowingly decrypted privileged information, an offense under this section is:
(1) a state jail felony if the value of the aggregate amount involved is less than $2,500;
(2) a felony of the third degree if:
(A) the value of the aggregate amount involved is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000; or
(B) a client or patient of a victim suffered harm attributable to the offense;
(3) a felony of the second degree if:
(A) the value of the aggregate amount involved is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000; or
(B) a client or patient of a victim suffered bodily injury attributable to the offense; and
(4) a felony of the first degree if:
(A) the value of the aggregate amount involved is $150,000 or more; or
(B) a client or patient of a victim suffered serious bodily injury or death attributable to the offense.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s conduct was pursuant to an agreement entered into with the owner for the purpose of:
(1) assessing or maintaining the security of the information or of a computer, computer network, or computer system; or
(2) providing other services related to security.
(d) A person who is subject to prosecution under this section and any other section of this code may be prosecuted under either or both sections.

§ 33.07. Online Impersonation

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, without obtaining the other person’s consent and with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person, uses the name or persona of another person to:

(1) create a web page on a commercial social networking site or other Internet website; or

(2) post or send one or more messages on or through a commercial social networking site or other Internet website, other than on or through an electronic mail program or message board program .

(b) A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person:

(1) without obtaining the other person’s consent;

(2) with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication; and

(3) with the intent to harm or defraud any person.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the actor commits the offense with the intent to solicit a response by emergency personnel.

(d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor is any of the following entities or that the actor’s conduct consisted solely of action taken as an employee of any of the following entities:

(1) a commercial social networking site;

(2) an Internet service provider;

(3) an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230;

(4) a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or

(5) a video service provider or cable service provider, as defined by Section 66.002, Utilities Code.

(f) In this section:

(1) “Commercial social networking site” means any business, organization, or other similar entity operating a website that permits persons to become registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users through direct or real-time communication with other users or the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail program or a message board program.

(2) “Identifying information” has the meaning assigned by Section 32.51.

Chapter 33A. Telecommunications Crimes

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 33A.051. False Caller Identification Information Display

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, with the intent to defraud or cause harm, makes a call or engages in any other conduct using any type of technology that results in the display on another person’s telecommunications device of data that misrepresents the actor’s identity or telephone number.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a conviction for an offense under this section may not be used for enhancement purposes under any other section of this chapter.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution that the actor:

(1) blocked caller identification information;

(2) was a peace officer or federal law enforcement officer lawfully discharging an official duty;

(3) was an officer, agent, or employee of a federal intelligence or security agency lawfully discharging an official duty;

(4) was an officer, agent, or employee of a telecommunications service provider who was:

(A) acting in the provider’s capacity as an intermediary for the transmission of telephone service, a Voice over Internet Protocol transmission, or another type of telecommunications transmission between the caller and the recipient;

(B) providing or configuring a service or service feature as requested by a customer;

(C) acting in a manner that is authorized or required by other law; or

(D) engaging in other conduct that is a necessary incident to the provision of service; or

(5) was a private investigator licensed under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code, lawfully conducting an investigation.

(e) For the purposes of this section, “telecommunications service provider” means a:

(1) telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or

(2) provider of telecommunications service, advanced communications services, or information service, as those terms are defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 153.

Title 9. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 42. Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 42.062. Interference With Emergency Request for Assistance

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) An individual commits an offense if the individual knowingly prevents or interferes with another individual’s ability to place an emergency call or to request assistance, including a request for assistance using an electronic communications device, in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.

(b) An individual commits an offense if the individual recklessly renders unusable an electronic communications device, including a telephone, that would otherwise be used by another individual to place an emergency call or to request assistance in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.

(d) In this section, “emergency” means a condition or circumstance in which any individual is or is reasonably believed by the individual making a call or requesting assistance to be in fear of imminent assault or in which property is or is reasonably believed by the individual making the call or requesting assistance to be in imminent danger of damage or destruction.

§ 42.07. Harassment

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, the person:
(1) initiates communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;
(2) threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property;
(3) conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;
(4) causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;
(5) makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;
(6) knowingly permits a telephone under the person’s control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or
(7) sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.
(b) In this section:
(1) “Electronic communication” means a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system. The term includes:
(A) a communication initiated through the use of electronic mail, instant message, network call, a cellular or other type of telephone, a computer, a camera, text message, a social media platform or application, an Internet website, any other Internet-based communication tool, or facsimile machine; and
(B) a communication made to a pager.
(2) “Family” and “household” have the meaning assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.
(3) “Obscene” means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if:
(1) the actor has previously been convicted under this section; or
(2) the offense was committed under Subsection (a)(7) and:
(A) the offense was committed against a child under 18 years of age with the intent that the child:
(i) commit suicide; or
(ii) engage in conduct causing serious bodily injury to the child; or
(B) the actor has previously violated a temporary restraining order or injunction issued under Chapter 129A, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

§ 42.072. Stalking

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that:

(1) constitutes an offense under Section 42.07, or that the actor knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as threatening:

(A) bodily injury or death for the other person;

(B) bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship; or

(C) that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property;

(2) causes the other person, a member of the other person’s family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or in fear that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, or to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended; and

(3) would cause a reasonable person to:

(A) fear bodily injury or death for himself or herself;

(B) fear bodily injury or death for a member of the person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship;

(C) fear that an offense will be committed against the person’s property; or

(D) feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under this section or of an offense under any of the following laws that contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under this section:

(1) the laws of another state;

(2) the laws of a federally recognized Indian tribe;

(3) the laws of a territory of the United States; or

(4) federal law.

(c) For purposes of this section, a trier of fact may find that different types of conduct described by Subsection (a), if engaged in on more than one occasion, constitute conduct that is engaged in pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct.

(d) In this section:

(1) “Dating relationship,” “family,” “household,” and “member of a household” have the meanings assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

(2) “Property” includes a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal, as defined by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.

Chapter 43. Public Indecency

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter A. Prostitution

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 43.01. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

In this subchapter:

(1) “Access software provider” means a provider of software, including client or server software, or enabling tools that perform one or more of the following functions:

(A) filter, screen, allow, or disallow content;

(B) select, analyze, or digest content; or

(C) transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset, organize, reorganize, or translate content.

(1-a) “Deviate sexual intercourse” means any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person.

(1-b) “Fee” means the payment or offer of payment in the form of money, goods, services, or other benefit.

(1-c) “Information content provider” means any person or entity that is wholly or partly responsible for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.

(1-d) “Interactive computer service” means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access to a computer server by multiple users, including a service or system that provides access to the Internet or a system operated or service offered by a library or educational institution.

(1-e) “Internet” means the international computer network of both federal and nonfederal interoperable packet switched data networks.

(2) “Prostitution” means the offense defined in Section 43.02.

(3) “Sexual contact” means any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

(4) “Sexual conduct” includes deviate sexual intercourse, sexual contact, and sexual intercourse.

(5) “Sexual intercourse” means any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.

§ 43.02. Prostitution

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct .

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another .

(b-1) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., ch. 685 (H.B. 29), § 44(2).

(c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is:

(1) a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted one or two times of an offense under Subsection (a); or

(2) a state jail felony if the actor has previously been convicted three or more times of an offense under Subsection (a).

(c-1) An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is:

(1) a state jail felony if the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under Subsection (b); or

(2) a felony of the second degree if the person with whom the actor agrees to engage in sexual conduct is:

(A) younger than 18 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time of the offense;

(B) represented to the actor as being younger than 18 years of age; or

(C) believed by the actor to be younger than 18 years of age.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under Subsection (a) that the actor engaged in the conduct that constitutes the offense because the actor was the victim of conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02 or 43.05.(e) A conviction may be used for purposes of enhancement under this section or enhancement under Subchapter D, Chapter 12,1 but not under both this section and Subchapter D, Chapter 12. For purposes of enhancement of penalties under this section or Subchapter D, Chapter 12, a defendant is previously convicted of an offense under this section if the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision.

§ 43.05. Compelling Prostitution

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:

(1) causes another by force, threat, coercion, or fraud to commit prostitution; or

(2) causes by any means a child younger than 18 years to commit prostitution, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the child at the time of the offense.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.

(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

(d) For purposes of this section, “coercion” as defined by Section 1.07 includes:

(1) destroying, concealing, confiscating, or withholding from a person, or threatening to destroy, conceal, confiscate, or withhold from a person, the person’s actual or purported:

(A) government records; or

(B) identifying information or documents;

(2) causing a person, without the person’s consent, to become intoxicated, as defined by Section 49.01, to a degree that impairs the person’s ability to appraise the nature of the person’s conduct that constitutes prostitution or to resist engaging in that conduct; or(3) withholding alcohol or a controlled substance to a degree that impairs the ability of a person with a chemical dependency, as defined by Section 462.001, Health and Safety Code, to appraise the nature of the person’s conduct that constitutes prostitution or to resist engaging in that conduct.

Subchapter B. Obscenity

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 43.21. Definitions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this subchapter:

(1) “Obscene” means material or a performance that:

(A) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in sex;

(B) depicts or describes:

(i) patently offensive representations or descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including sexual intercourse, sodomy, and sexual bestiality; or

(ii) patently offensive representations or descriptions of masturbation, excretory functions, sadism, masochism, lewd exhibition of the genitals, the male or female genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal, covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state or a device designed and marketed as useful primarily for stimulation of the human genital organs; and

(C) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.

(2) “Material” means anything tangible that is capable of being used or adapted to arouse interest, whether through the medium of reading, observation, sound, or in any other manner, but does not include an actual three dimensional obscene device.

(3) “Performance” means a play, motion picture, dance, or other exhibition performed before an audience.

(4) “Patently offensive” means so offensive on its face as to affront current community standards of decency.

(5) “Promote” means to manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise, or to offer or agree to do the same.

(6) “Wholesale promote” means to manufacture, issue, sell, provide, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, or to offer or agree to do the same for purpose of resale.

(7) “Obscene device” means a device including a dildo or artificial vagina, designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.

(b) If any of the depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct described in this section are declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unlawfully included herein, this declaration shall not invalidate this section as to other patently offensive sexual conduct included herein.

§ 43.25. Sexual Performance by a Child

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section:
(1) “Sexual performance” means any performance or part thereof that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age.
(2) “Sexual conduct” means sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
(3) “Performance” means any play, motion picture, photograph, dance, or other visual representation that can be exhibited before an audience of one or more persons.
(4) “Produce” with respect to a sexual performance includes any conduct that directly contributes to the creation or manufacture of the sexual performance.
(5) “Promote” means to procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do any of the above.
(6) “Simulated” means the explicit depiction of sexual conduct that creates the appearance of actual sexual conduct and during which a person engaging in the conduct exhibits any uncovered portion of the breasts, genitals, or buttocks.
(7) “Deviate sexual intercourse” and “sexual contact” have the meanings assigned by Section 43.01.
(b) A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content thereof, he employs, authorizes, or induces a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance. A parent or legal guardian or custodian of a child younger than 18 years of age commits an offense if he consents to the participation by the child in a sexual performance.
(c) An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the second degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if the victim is younger than 14 years of age at the time the offense is committed, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the victim at the time of the offense.
(d) A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content of the material, he produces, directs, or promotes a performance that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age.
(e) An offense under Subsection (d) is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the victim is younger than 14 years of age at the time the offense is committed, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the victim at the time of the offense.
(f) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that:
(1) the defendant was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense;
(2) the conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose; or
(3) the defendant is not more than two years older than the child.
(g) When it becomes necessary for the purposes of this section or Section 43.26 to determine whether a child who participated in sexual conduct was younger than 18 years of age, the court or jury may make this determination by any of the following methods:
(1) personal inspection of the child;
(2) inspection of the photograph or motion picture that shows the child engaging in the sexual performance;
(3) oral testimony by a witness to the sexual performance as to the age of the child based on the child’s appearance at the time;
(4) expert medical testimony based on the appearance of the child engaging in the sexual performance; or
(5) any other method authorized by law or by the rules of evidence at common law.
(h) Conduct under this section constitutes an offense regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the victim at the time of the offense.

Title 10. Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, and Morals

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 46. Weapons

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

§ 46.04. Unlawful Possession of Firearm

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A person who has been convicted of a felony commits an offense if he possesses a firearm:

(1) after conviction and before the fifth anniversary of the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the felony or the person’s release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later; or

(2) after the period described by Subdivision (1), at any location other than the premises at which the person lives.

(b) A person who has been convicted of an offense under Section 22.01, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor and involving a member of the person’s family or household, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm before the fifth anniversary of the later of:

(1) the date of the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the misdemeanor; or

(2) the date of the person’s release from community supervision following conviction of the misdemeanor.

(c) A person, other than a peace officer, as defined by Section 1.07, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision, who is subject to an order issued under Section 6.504 or Chapter 85, Family Code, under Article 17.292 or Chapter 7A, Code of Criminal Procedure, or by another jurisdiction as provided by Chapter 88, Family Code, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm after receiving notice of the order and before expiration of the order.

(d) In this section, “family,” “household,” and “member of a household” have the meanings assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

(e) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense under Subsection (b) or (c) is a Class A misdemeanor.

(f) For the purposes of this section, an offense under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States is, except as provided by Subsection (g), a felony if, at the time it is committed, the offense:

(1) is designated by a law of this state as a felony;

(2) contains all the elements of an offense designated by a law of this state as a felony; or

(3) is punishable by confinement for one year or more in a penitentiary.

(g) An offense is not considered a felony for purposes of Subsection (f) if, at the time the person possesses a firearm, the offense:

(1) is not designated by a law of this state as a felony; and

(2) does not contain all the elements of any offense designated by a law of this state as a felony.

Property Code (select statutes)

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Title 8. Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 92. Residential Tenancies

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

92.015. Tenant's Right to Summon Police or Emergency Assistance

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A landlord may not:

(1) prohibit or limit a residential tenant’s right to summon police or other emergency assistance based on the tenant’s reasonable belief that an individual is in need of intervention or emergency assistance; or

(2) impose monetary or other penalties on a tenant who summons police or emergency assistance if the assistance was requested or dispatched based on the tenant’s reasonable belief that an individual was in need of intervention or emergency assistance.

(b) A provision in a lease is void if the provision purports to:

(1) waive a tenant’s right to summon police or other emergency assistance based on the tenant’s reasonable belief that an individual is in need of intervention or emergency assistance; or

(2) exempt any party from a liability or a duty under this section.

(c) In addition to other remedies provided by law, if a landlord violates this section, a tenant is entitled to recover from or against the landlord:

(1) a civil penalty in an amount equal to one month’s rent;

(2) actual damages suffered by the tenant as a result of the landlord’s violation of this section;

(3) court costs;

(4) injunctive relief; and

(5) reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the tenant in seeking enforcement of this section.

(d) For purposes of this section, if a tenant’s rent is subsidized in whole or in part by a governmental entity, “one month’s rent” means one month’s fair market rent.

(e) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 337 (H.B. 1099), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2017.

92.016. Right to Vacate and Avoid Liability Following Family Violence

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004, Family Code.

(2) “Occupant” means a person who has the landlord’s consent to occupy a dwelling but has no obligation to pay the rent for the dwelling.

(b) A tenant may terminate the tenant’s rights and obligations under a lease and may vacate the dwelling and avoid liability for future rent and any other sums due under the lease for terminating the lease and vacating the dwelling before the end of the lease term if the tenant complies with Subsection (c).

(b-1) A tenant may obtain relief under Subsection (b) if the tenant provides the landlord or the landlord’s agent:

(1) a copy of one or more of the following orders protecting the tenant or an occupant from family violence:

(A) a temporary injunction issued under Subchapter F,1 Chapter 6, Family Code;

(B) a temporary ex parte order issued under Chapter 83, Family Code;

(C) a protective order issued under Chapter 85, Family Code; or

(D) an order of emergency protection under Article 17.292, Code of Criminal Procedure; or

(2) a copy of documentation of the family violence against the tenant or an occupant from:

(A) a licensed health care services provider who examined the victim;

(B) a licensed mental health services provider who examined or evaluated the victim; or

(C) an advocate as defined by Section 93.001, Family Code, who assisted the victim.

(c) A tenant may exercise the rights to terminate the lease under Subsection (b), vacate the dwelling before the end of the lease term, and avoid liability beginning on the date after all of the following events have occurred:

(1) a judge signs an order described by Subsection (b-1)(1) if the tenant obtained such an order ;

(2) the tenant provides a copy of the relevant documentation described by Subsection (b-1)(1) or (2), as applicable,to the landlord;

(3) the tenant provides written notice of termination of the lease to the landlord on or before the 30th day before the date the lease terminates;

(4) the 30th day after the date the tenant provided notice under Subdivision (3) expires; and

(5) the tenant vacates the dwelling.

(c-1) If the family violence is committed by a cotenant or occupant of the dwelling, a tenant may exercise the right to terminate the lease under the procedures provided by Subsection (b-1)(1)(A), (C), or (D) or (b-1)(2) and Subsection (c), except that the tenant is not required to provide the notice described by Subsection (c)(3).

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (f), this section does not affect a tenant’s liability for delinquent, unpaid rent or other sums owed to the landlord before the lease was terminated by the tenant under this section.

(e) A landlord who violates this section is liable to the tenant for actual damages, a civil penalty equal in amount to the amount of one month’s rent plus $500, and attorney’s fees.

(f) A tenant who terminates a lease under Subsection (b) is released from all liability for any delinquent, unpaid rent owed to the landlord by the tenant on the effective date of the lease termination if the lease does not contain language substantially equivalent to the following:

“Tenants may have special statutory rights to terminate the lease early in certain situations involving family violence or a military deployment or transfer.”(g) A tenant’s right to terminate a lease before the end of the lease term, vacate the dwelling, and avoid liability under this section may not be waived by a tenant.

92.0161. Right to Vacate and Avoid Liability Following Certain Sex Offenses or Stalking

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In this section, “occupant” has the meaning assigned by Section 92.016.

(b) A tenant may terminate the tenant’s rights and obligations under a lease and may vacate the dwelling and avoid liability for future rent and any other sums due under the lease for terminating the lease and vacating the dwelling before the end of the lease term after the tenant complies with Subsection (c) or (c-1).

(c) If the tenant is a victim or a parent or guardian of a victim of sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code, indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual performance by a child under Section 43.25, Penal Code, continuous sexual abuse of a child under Section 21.02, Penal Code, or an attempt to commit any of the foregoing offenses under Section 15.01, Penal Code, that takes place during the preceding six-month period on the premises or at any dwelling on the premises, the tenant shall provide to the landlord or the landlord’s agent a copy of:

(1) documentation of the assault or abuse, or attempted assault or abuse, of the victim from a licensed health care services provider who examined the victim;

(2) documentation of the assault or abuse, or attempted assault or abuse, of the victim from a licensed mental health services provider who examined or evaluated the victim;

(3) documentation of the assault or abuse, or attempted assault or abuse, of the victim from an individual authorized under Chapter 420, Government Code, who provided services to the victim; or

(4) documentation of a protective order issued under Chapter 7A, Code of Criminal Procedure, except for a temporary ex parte order.

(c-1) If the tenant is a victim or a parent or guardian of a victim of stalking under Section 42.072, Penal Code, that takes place during the preceding six-month period on the premises or at any dwelling on the premises, the tenant shall provide to the landlord or the landlord’s agent a copy of:

(1) documentation of a protective order issued under Chapter 7A or Article 6.09, Code of Criminal Procedure, except for a temporary ex parte order; or

(2) documentation of the stalking from a provider of services described by Subsection (c)(1), (2), or (3) and:

(A) a law enforcement incident report or, if a law enforcement incident report is unavailable, another record maintained in the ordinary course of business by a law enforcement agency; and

(B) if the report or record described by Paragraph (A) identifies the victim by means of a pseudonym, as defined by Article 57A.01, Code of Criminal Procedure, a copy of a pseudonym form completed and returned under Article 57A.02 of that code.

(d) A tenant may exercise the rights to terminate the lease under Subsection (b), vacate the dwelling before the end of the lease term, and avoid liability beginning on the date after all of the following events have occurred:

(1) the tenant provides a copy of the relevant documentation described by Subsection (c) or (c-1) to the landlord;

(2) the tenant provides written notice of termination of the lease to the landlord on or before the 30th day before the date the lease terminates;

(3) the 30th day after the date the tenant provided notice under Subdivision (2) expires; and

(4) the tenant vacates the dwelling.

(e) Except as provided by Subsection (g), this section does not affect a tenant’s liability for delinquent, unpaid rent or other sums owed to the landlord before the lease was terminated by the tenant under this section.

(f) A landlord who violates this section is liable to the tenant for actual damages, a civil penalty equal to the amount of one month’s rent plus $500, and attorney’s fees.

(g) A tenant who terminates a lease under Subsection (b) is released from all liability for any delinquent, unpaid rent owed to the landlord by the tenant on the effective date of the lease termination if the lease does not contain language substantially equivalent to the following:

“Tenants may have special statutory rights to terminate the lease early in certain situations involving certain sexual offenses or stalking.”

(h) A tenant may not waive a tenant’s right to terminate a lease before the end of the lease term, vacate the dwelling, and avoid liability under this chapter.

(i) For purposes of Subsections (c) and (c-1), a tenant who is a parent or guardian of a victim described by those subsections must reside with the victim to exercise the rights established by this section.

(j) A person who receives information under Subsection (c), (c-1), or (d) may not disclose the information to any other person except for a legitimate or customary business purpose or as otherwise required by law.

Code of Criminal Procedure (select sections)

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Title 1. Code of Criminal Procedure of 1965

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

After Commitment or Bail and Before the Trial

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter Twenty-Seven. The Pleading in Criminal Actions

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Art. 27.14. Plea of guilty or nolo contendere in misdemeanor

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A plea of “guilty” or a plea of “nolo contendere” in a misdemeanor case may be made either by the defendant or his counsel in open court; in such case, the defendant or his counsel may waive a jury, and the punishment may be assessed by the court either upon or without evidence, at the discretion of the court.

(b) A defendant charged with a misdemeanor for which the maximum possible punishment is by fine only may, in lieu of the method provided in Subsection (a), mail or deliver in person to the court a plea of “guilty” or a plea of “nolo contendere” and a waiver of jury trial. The defendant may also request in writing that the court notify the defendant, at the address stated in the request, of the amount of an appeal bond that the court will approve. If the court receives a plea and waiver before the time the defendant is scheduled to appear in court, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court appearance by the defendant. If the court receives a plea and waiver after the time the defendant is scheduled to appear in court but at least five business days before a scheduled trial date, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court appearance by the defendant. The court shall notify the defendant either in person or by regular mail of the amount of any fine or costs assessed in the case, information regarding the alternatives to the full payment of any fine or costs assessed against the defendant, if the defendant is unable to pay that amount, and, if requested by the defendant, the amount of an appeal bond that the court will approve. Except as otherwise provided by this code, the defendant shall pay any fine or costs assessed or give an appeal bond in the amount stated in the notice before the 31st day after receiving the notice. This subsection does not apply to a defendant charged with a misdemeanor involving family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code.

(c) In a misdemeanor case for which the maximum possible punishment is by fine only, payment of a fine or an amount accepted by the court constitutes a finding of guilty in open court as though a plea of nolo contendere had been entered by the defendant and constitutes a waiver of a jury trial in writing.

(d) If written notice of an offense for which maximum possible punishment is by fine only or of a violation relating to the manner, time, and place of parking has been prepared, delivered, and filed with the court and a legible duplicate copy has been given to the defendant, the written notice serves as a complaint to which the defendant may plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “nolo contendere.” If the defendant pleads “not guilty” to the offense or fails to appear based on the written notice, a complaint shall be filed that conforms to the requirements of Chapter 45 of this code, and that complaint serves as an original complaint. A defendant may waive the filing of a sworn complaint and elect that the prosecution proceed on the written notice of the charged offense if the defendant agrees in writing with the prosecution, signs the agreement, and files it with the court.

(e)(1) Before accepting a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere by a defendant charged with a misdemeanor involving family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, the court shall admonish the defendant by using the following statement:

“If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving violence where you are or were a spouse, intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim or are or were involved in another, similar relationship with the victim, it may be unlawful for you to possess or purchase a firearm, including a handgun or long gun, or ammunition, pursuant to federal law under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(9) or Section 46.04(b), Texas Penal Code. If you have any questions whether these laws make it illegal for you to possess or purchase a firearm, you should consult an attorney.”(2) The court may provide the admonishment under Subdivision (1) orally or in writing.

Prevention and Suppression of Offenses

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 7A. Protective Order for Victims of Sexual Assault or Abuse, Stalking, or Trafficking

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Art. 7A.03. Required findings; issuance of protective order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) At the close of a hearing on an application for a protective order under this chapter, the court shall find whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is the victim of sexual assault or abuse, indecent assault, stalking, or trafficking.

(b) If the court makes a finding described by Subsection (a), the court shall issue a protective order that includes a statement of the required findings.

(c) An offender’s conviction of or placement on deferred adjudication community supervision for an offense listed in Article 7A.01(a)(1) or (2) constitutes reasonable grounds under Subsection (a).

Art. 7A.01. Application for Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The following persons may file an application for a protective order under this chapter without regard to the relationship between the applicant and the alleged offender:

(1) a person who is the victim of an offense under Section 21.02, 21.11, 22.011, 22.012, 22.021, or 42.072, Penal Code;

(2) a person who is the victim of an offense under Section 20A.02, 20A.03, or 43.05, Penal Code;

(3) a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a person younger than 17 years of age who is the victim of an offense listed in Subdivision (1);

(4) a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a person younger than 18 years of age who is the victim of an offense listed in Subdivision (2); or

(5) a prosecuting attorney acting on behalf of a person described by Subdivision (1), (2), (3), or (4).

(a-1) Except as provided by Subsection (a-2), if an application has not yet been filed in the case under Subsection (a), the attorney representing the state shall promptly file an application for a protective order with respect to each victim of an offense listed in Subdivision (1) or (2) of that subsection following the offender’s conviction of or placement on deferred adjudication community supervision for the offense.

(a-2) The attorney representing the state may not file an application under Subsection (a-1) with respect to a victim who is at least 18 years of age if the victim requests that the attorney representing the state not file the application.

(b) An application for a protective order under this chapter may be filed in:

(1) a district court, juvenile court having the jurisdiction of a district court, statutory county court, or constitutional county court in:

(A) the county in which the applicant resides;

(B) the county in which the alleged offender resides; or

(C) any county in which an element of the alleged offense occurred; or

(2) any court with jurisdiction over a protective order under Title 4, Family Code,1 involving the same parties named in the application.

Art. 7A.02. Temporary Ex Parte Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

If the court finds from the information contained in an application for a protective order that there is a clear and present danger of sexual assault or abuse, indecent assault, stalking, trafficking, or other harm to the applicant, the court, without further notice to the alleged offender and without a hearing, may enter a temporary ex parte order for the protection of the applicant or any other member of the applicant’s family or household.

Art. 7A.05. Conditions Specified by Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) In a protective order issued under this chapter, the court may:

(1) order the alleged offender to take action as specified by the court that the court determines is necessary or appropriate to prevent or reduce the likelihood of future harm to the applicant or a member of the applicant’s family or household; or

(2) prohibit the alleged offender from:

(A) communicating:

(i) directly or indirectly with the applicant or any member of the applicant’s family or household in a threatening or harassing manner; or

(ii) in any manner with the applicant or any member of the applicant’s family or household except through the applicant’s attorney or a person appointed by the court, if the court finds good cause for the prohibition;

(B) going to or near the residence, place of employment or business, or child-care facility or school of the applicant or any member of the applicant’s family or household;

(C) engaging in conduct directed specifically toward the applicant or any member of the applicant’s family or household, including following the person, that is reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass the person; and

(D) possessing a firearm, unless the alleged offender is a peace officer, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision.

(b) In an order under Subsection (a)(2)(B), the court shall specifically describe each prohibited location and the minimum distance from the location, if any, that the alleged offender must maintain. This subsection does not apply to an order with respect to which the court has received a request to maintain confidentiality of information revealing the locations.

(c) In a protective order, the court may suspend a license to carry a handgun issued under Section 411.177, Government Code, that is held by the alleged offender.

Art. 7A.07. Duration of Protective Order

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) A protective order issued under Article 7A.03 may be effective for the duration of the lives of the offender and victim or for any shorter period stated in the order. If a period is not stated in the order, the order is effective until the second anniversary of the date the order was issued.

(a-1) The court shall issue a protective order effective for the duration of the lives of the offender and victim if the offender is:

(1) convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for an offense listed in Article 7A.01(a)(1) or (2); and

(2) required under Chapter 62 to register for life as a sex offender.

(b) The following persons may file at any time an application with the court to rescind the protective order:

(1) a victim of an offense listed in Article 7A.01(a)(1) who is 17 years of age or older or a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a victim who is younger than 17 years of age; or

(2) a victim of an offense listed in Article 7A.01(a)(2) or a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a victim who is younger than 18 years of age.

(c) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., ch. 97 (S.B. 257), § 2.(d) To the extent of any conflict with Section 85.025, Family Code, this article prevails.

Arrest, Commitment and Bail

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 14. Arrest Without Warrant

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Art. 14.03. Authority of peace officers

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Any peace officer may arrest, without warrant:

(1) persons found in suspicious places and under circumstances which reasonably show that such persons have been guilty of some felony, violation of Title 9, Chapter 42, Penal Code, breach of the peace, or offense under Section 49.02, Penal Code, or threaten, or are about to commit some offense against the laws;

(2) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an assault resulting in bodily injury to another person and the peace officer has probable cause to believe that there is danger of further bodily injury to that person;

(3) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an offense defined by Section 25.07, Penal Code, if the offense is not committed in the presence of the peace officer;

(4) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an offense involving family violence;

(5) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have prevented or interfered with an individual’s ability to place a telephone call in an emergency, as defined by Section 42.062(d), Penal Code, if the offense is not committed in the presence of the peace officer; or

(6) a person who makes a statement to the peace officer that would be admissible against the person under Article 38.21 and establishes probable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony.

(b) A peace officer shall arrest, without a warrant, a person the peace officer has probable cause to believe has committed an offense under Section 25.07, Penal Code , if the offense is committed in the presence of the peace officer.

(c) If reasonably necessary to verify an allegation of a violation of a protective order or of the commission of an offense involving family violence, a peace officer shall remain at the scene of the investigation to verify the allegation and to prevent the further commission of the violation or of family violence.

(d) A peace officer who is outside his jurisdiction may arrest, without warrant, a person who commits an offense within the officer’s presence or view, if the offense is a felony, a violation of Chapter 42 or 49, Penal Code, or a breach of the peace. A peace officer making an arrest under this subsection shall, as soon as practicable after making the arrest, notify a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the arrest was made. The law enforcement agency shall then take custody of the person committing the offense and take the person before a magistrate in compliance with Article 14.06 of this code.

(e) The justification for conduct provided under Section 9.21, Penal Code, applies to a peace officer when the peace officer is performing a duty required by this article.

(f) In this article, “family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004, Family Code.

(g)(1) A peace officer listed in Subdivision (1), (2), or (5), Article 2.12, who is licensed under Chapter 1701, Occupations Code, and is outside of the officer’s jurisdiction may arrest without a warrant a person who commits any offense within the officer’s presence or view, other than a violation of Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code.1

(2) A peace officer listed in Subdivision (3), Article 2.12, who is licensed under Chapter 1701, Occupations Code, and is outside of the officer’s jurisdiction may arrest without a warrant a person who commits any offense within the officer’s presence or view, except that an officer described in this subdivision who is outside of that officer’s jurisdiction may arrest a person for a violation of Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code, only if the offense is committed in the county or counties in which the municipality employing the peace officer is located.

(3) A peace officer making an arrest under this subsection shall as soon as practicable after making the arrest notify a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the arrest was made. The law enforcement agency shall then take custody of:

(A) the person committing the offense and take the person before a magistrate in compliance with Article 14.06; and

(B) any property seized during or after the arrest as if the property had been seized by a peace officer of that law enforcement agency.

Art. 14.06. Must take offender before magistrate

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this article, in each case enumerated in this Code, the person making the arrest or the person having custody of the person arrested shall take the person arrested or have him taken without unnecessary delay, but not later than 48 hours after the person is arrested, before the magistrate who may have ordered the arrest, before some magistrate of the county where the arrest was made without an order, or, to provide more expeditiously to the person arrested the warnings described by Article 15.17of this Code, before a magistrate in any other county of this state. The magistrate shall immediately perform the duties described in Article 15.17 of this Code.
(b) A peace officer who is charging a person, including a child, with committing an offense that is a Class C misdemeanor, other than an offense under Section 49.02, Penal Code, may, instead of taking the person before a magistrate, issue a citation to the person that contains:
(1) written notice of the time and place the person must appear before a magistrate;
(2) the name and address of the person charged;
(3) the offense charged;
(4) information regarding the alternatives to the full payment of any fine or costs assessed against the person, if the person is convicted of the offense and is unable to pay that amount; and
(5) the following admonishment, in boldfaced or underlined type or in capital letters:
“If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving violence where you are or were a spouse, intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim or are or were involved in another, similar relationship with the victim, it may be unlawful for you to possess or purchase a firearm, including a handgun or long gun, or ammunition, pursuant to federal law under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(9) or Section 46.04(b), Texas Penal Code. If you have any questions whether these laws make it illegal for you to possess or purchase a firearm, you should consult an attorney.”
(c) If the person resides in the county where the offense occurred, a peace officer who is charging a person with committing an offense that is a Class A or B misdemeanor may, instead of taking the person before a magistrate, issue a citation to the person that contains written notice of the time and place the person must appear before a magistrate of this state as described by Subsection (a), the name and address of the person charged, and the offense charged.
(d) Subsection (c) applies only to a person charged with committing an offense under:
(1) Section 481.121, Health and Safety Code, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (b)(1) or (2) of that section;
(1-a) Section 481.1161, Health and Safety Code, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (b)(1) or (2) of that section;
(2) Section 28.03, Penal Code, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (b)(2) of that section;
(3) Section 28.08, Penal Code, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (b)(2) or (3) of that section;
(4) Section 31.03, Penal Code, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (e)(2)(A) of that section;
(5) Section 31.04, Penal Code, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (e)(2) of that section;
(6) Section 38.114, Penal Code, if the offense is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor; or
(7) Section 521.457, Transportation Code.

Chapter 17. Bail

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Art. 17.292. Magistrate's Order for Emergency Protection

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) At a defendant’s appearance before a magistrate after arrest for an offense involving family violence or an offense under Section 20A.02, 20A.03, 22.011, 22.012, 22.021, or 42.072, Penal Code, the magistrate may issue an order for emergency protection on the magistrate’s own motion or on the request of:

(1) the victim of the offense;

(2) the guardian of the victim;

(3) a peace officer; or

(4) the attorney representing the state.

(b) At a defendant’s appearance before a magistrate after arrest for an offense involving family violence, the magistrate shall issue an order for emergency protection if the arrest is for an offense that also involves:

(1) serious bodily injury to the victim; or

(2) the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault.

(c) The magistrate in the order for emergency protection may prohibit the arrested party from:

(1) committing:

(A) family violence or an assault on the person protected under the order; or

(B) an act in furtherance of an offense under Section 20A.02 or 42.072, Penal Code;

(2) communicating:

(A) directly with a member of the family or household or with the person protected under the order in a threatening or harassing manner;

(B) a threat through any person to a member of the family or household or to the person protected under the order; or

(C) if the magistrate finds good cause, in any manner with a person protected under the order or a member of the family or household of a person protected under the order, except through the party’s attorney or a person appointed by the court;

(3) going to or near:

(A) the residence, place of employment, or business of a member of the family or household or of the person protected under the order; or

(B) the residence, child care facility, or school where a child protected under the order resides or attends; or

(4) possessing a firearm, unless the person is a peace officer, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision.

(c-1) In addition to the conditions described by Subsection (c), the magistrate in the order for emergency protection may impose a condition described by Article 17.49(b) in the manner provided by that article, including ordering a defendant’s participation in a global positioning monitoring system or allowing participation in the system by an alleged victim or other person protected under the order.

(d) The victim of the offense need not be present when the order for emergency protection is issued.

(e) In the order for emergency protection the magistrate shall specifically describe the prohibited locations and the minimum distances, if any, that the party must maintain, unless the magistrate determines for the safety of the person or persons protected by the order that specific descriptions of the locations should be omitted.

(f) To the extent that a condition imposed by an order for emergency protection issued under this article conflicts with an existing court order granting possession of or access to a child, the condition imposed under this article prevails for the duration of the order for emergency protection.

(f-1) To the extent that a condition imposed by an order issued under this article conflicts with a condition imposed by an order subsequently issued under Chapter 85, Subtitle B, Title 4, Family Code, or under Title 11 or Title 5, Family Code,2 the condition imposed by the order issued under the Family Code prevails.

(f-2) To the extent that a condition imposed by an order issued under this article conflicts with a condition imposed by an order subsequently issued under Chapter 83, Subtitle B, Title 4, Family Code, the condition imposed by the order issued under this article prevails unless the court issuing the order under Chapter 83, Family Code:

(1) is informed of the existence of the order issued under this article; and

(2) makes a finding in the order issued under Chapter 83, Family Code, that the court is superseding the order issued under this article.

(g) An order for emergency protection issued under this article must contain the following statements printed in bold-face type or in capital letters:

“A VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER BY COMMISSION OF AN ACT PROHIBITED BY THE ORDER MAY BE PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF AS MUCH AS $4,000 OR BY CONFINEMENT IN JAIL FOR AS LONG AS ONE YEAR OR BY BOTH. AN ACT THAT RESULTS IN A SEPARATE OFFENSE MAY BE PROSECUTED AS A SEPARATE MISDEMEANOR OR FELONY OFFENSE, AS APPLICABLE, IN ADDITION TO A VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER. IF THE ACT IS PROSECUTED AS A SEPARATE FELONY OFFENSE, IT IS PUNISHABLE BY CONFINEMENT IN PRISON FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS. THE POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A PERSON, OTHER THAN A PEACE OFFICER, AS DEFINED BY SECTION 1.07, PENAL CODE, ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN EMPLOYMENT AS A SWORN, FULL-TIME PAID EMPLOYEE OF A STATE AGENCY OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, WHO IS SUBJECT TO THIS ORDER MAY BE PROSECUTED AS A SEPARATE OFFENSE PUNISHABLE BY CONFINEMENT OR IMPRISONMENT.

NO PERSON, INCLUDING A PERSON WHO IS PROTECTED BY THIS ORDER, MAY GIVE PERMISSION TO ANYONE TO IGNORE OR VIOLATE ANY PROVISION OF THIS ORDER. DURING THE TIME IN WHICH THIS ORDER IS VALID, EVERY PROVISION OF THIS ORDER IS IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT UNLESS A COURT CHANGES THE ORDER.”

(h) As soon as possible but not later than the next business day after the date the magistrate issues an order for emergency protection under this article, the magistrate shall send a copy of the order to the chief of police in the municipality where the member of the family or household or individual protected by the order resides, if the person resides in a municipality, or to the sheriff of the county where the person resides, if the person does not reside in a municipality. If the victim of the offense is not present when the order is issued, the magistrate issuing the order shall order an appropriate peace officer to make a good faith effort to notify, within 24 hours, the victim that the order has been issued by calling the victim’s residence and place of employment. The clerk of the court shall send a copy of the order to the victim at the victim’s last known address as soon as possible but not later than the next business day after the date the order is issued.

(h-1) A magistrate or clerk of the court may delay sending a copy of the order under Subsection (h) only if the magistrate or clerk lacks information necessary to ensure service and enforcement.

(i) If an order for emergency protection issued under this article prohibits a person from going to or near a child care facility or school, the magistrate shall send a copy of the order to the child care facility or school.

(i-1) The copy of the order and any related information may be sent under Subsection (h) or (i) electronically or in another manner that can be accessed by the recipient.

(j) An order for emergency protection issued under this article is effective on issuance, and the defendant shall be served a copy of the order by the magistrate or the magistrate’s designee in person or electronically. The magistrate shall make a separate record of the service in written or electronic format. An order for emergency protection issued under Subsection (a) or (b)(1) of this article remains in effect up to the 61st day but not less than 31 days after the date of issuance. An order for emergency protection issued under Subsection (b)(2) of this article remains in effect up to the 91st day but not less than 61 days after the date of issuance. After notice to each affected party and a hearing, the issuing court may modify all or part of an order issued under this article if the court finds that:

(1) the order as originally issued is unworkable;

(2) the modification will not place the victim of the offense at greater risk than did the original order; and

(3) the modification will not in any way endanger a person protected under the order.

(k) To ensure that an officer responding to a call is aware of the existence and terms of an order for emergency protection issued under this article, not later than the third business day after the date of receipt of the copy of the order by the applicable law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the municipality or county in which the victim resides, the law enforcement agency shall enter the information required under Section 411.042(b)(6), Government Code, into the statewide law enforcement information system maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

(k-1) A law enforcement agency may delay entering the information required under Subsection (k) only if the agency lacks information necessary to ensure service and enforcement.

(l) In the order for emergency protection, the magistrate shall suspend a license to carry a handgun issued under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code,3 that is held by the defendant.

(m) In this article:

(1) “Family,” “family violence,” and “household” have the meanings assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

(2) “Firearm” has the meaning assigned by Chapter 46, Penal Code.

(3) “Business day” means a day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or state or national holiday.(n) On motion, notice, and hearing, or on agreement of the parties, an order for emergency protection issued under this article may be transferred to the court assuming jurisdiction over the criminal act giving rise to the issuance of the emergency order for protection. On transfer, the criminal court may modify all or part of an order issued under this subsection in the same manner and under the same standards as the issuing court under Subsection (j).

Miscellaneous Proceedings

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Chapter 56. Rights of Crime Victims

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Subchapter C. Address Confidentiality Program for Victims of Family Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

Art. 56.82 Address Confidentiality Program

Updated: 
April 10, 2018

(a) The attorney general shall establish an address confidentiality program, as provided by this subchapter, to assist a victim of family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons in maintaining a confidential address.
(b) The attorney general shall:
(1) designate a substitute post office box address that a participant may use in place of the participant’s true residential, business, or school address;
(2) act as agent to receive service of process and mail on behalf of the participant; and
(3) forward to the participant mail received by the office of the attorney general on behalf of the participant.
(c) A summons, writ, notice, demand, or process may be served on the attorney general on behalf of the participant by delivery of two copies of the document to the office of the attorney general. The attorney general shall retain a copy of the summons, writ, notice, demand, or process and forward the original to the participant not later than the third day after the date of service on the attorney general.
(d) The attorney general shall make and retain a copy of the envelope in which certified mail is received on behalf of the participant.