While many non-essential court functions have been temporarily reduced in capacity due to the COVID-19 health crisis, if you are a victim of abuse, stalking, or harassment, during this time you are still able to petition the court to enter a Protective Order.
What is a Protective Order?
A protective order is a court order that protects you from someone who has been violent or threatened to become violent. If the protective order is granted, the court orders the abuser not to hurt, threaten, or harass you (or your children), either directly or through another person. The order can also include an order to stay away from you, your family, your home, your workplace, and children’s daycare or school.
Do I have to go to court?
Generally, a protective order hearing will occur in-person shortly after the application for protective order having been filed. While a court may grant a “Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order” for immediate protection, this has traditionally only lasted until the formal court hearing, or until it expires through operation of law – about two weeks.
However, in light of COVID-19, pursuant to the Texas Supreme Court Emergency Order 20-9042 – 9045, the 280th Judicial District Court (the protective order court) of Harris County has suspended all statutory rules and deadlines regarding the setting of hearings on Protective Order matters, as well as the duration of temporary ex parte protective orders. This means that temporary orders can last longer than normally prescribed under the law, which in turn allows the need to appear in court to either be delayed or scheduled accordingly in order to protect the health and safety of all parties involved.
How do I get a protective order?
There are several ways to apply for a protective order. During this public health shutdown our firm is 100% operational and can help guide you through the process. We are available from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM at (832) 781-0320. You can also contact your local district attorney’s office or call your local family violence shelter – you can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to find the nearest one.