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New Braunfels, Texas Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection in Comal and Hays Counties

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there are 200,000 or more family violence crimes committed in the state each year. Family violence takes many forms in many different situations, ranging from physical force against a partner to emotional or verbal abuse of a child to threats against an in-law. Most counties in South Central Texas have specific courts that intervene in these situations to provide a safe distance between alleged abusers and potential victims while introducing an element of stability in the household. Both short and long-term relief is available in the form of protective orders and restrictive visitation orders.

At The Bettersworth Law Firm, our compassionate team takes prompt and decisive action in this area. If you need immediate protection, we will do what it takes to help ensure your safety, while giving you the tools to build a more emotionally stable life for yourself and your family in the months and years to come. We can help you address any family law concerns you may encounter, including assisting with a divorce from an abusive spouse or taking steps to resolve child custody disputes and establish arrangements that will protect children's safety and well-being. With our experience in this area, we can make sure all legal issues will be addressed effectively.

Protective Orders

Texas law broadly defines domestic violence to include both relationship violence and dating violence, as well as violence committed against people who live in the same household or cases involving extended family members. When considering the evidence in these cases, most judges look for a pattern of conduct in the last 24 months. So, if there was even one prior reported incident in the last two years, judges nearly always grant protective orders. An order of protection or restraining order can help protect the safety of victims while also ensuring that their ongoing needs can be met. In most cases, the applicant must prove that abuse is likely to occur in the future unless the court acts.

The terms and length of restraining orders may vary, but they usually include:

  • A prohibition of communication
  • Orders to remain away from a specific place
  • Temporary financial support provisions
  • Surrender of owned firearms
  • Exclusion from a joint residence
  • Mandatory anger or substance abuse counseling

Violation of a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor; a subsequent or enhanced violation is a third-degree felony.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody Orders

Just as temporary orders often serve as blueprints for final orders in divorce cases, a protective order can have a profound impact on final child custody orders. Texas law presumes that contact with an abusive parent or caregiver is not in the children's best interest. Moreover, in cases involving established physical violence, the abuser will typically be prevented from having contact with the child for at least two years. Finally, on a practical level, most judges hesitate to double back on a previous finding of domestic violence and go against orders that have previously been established.

Typically, judges order social worker evaluations to judge the extent of the psychological and emotional damage that has occurred. Social workers may also make recommendations regarding child custody arrangements. In most cases, judges will order restrictive visitation. The abuser may have supervised visitation with their children at either a trusted relative's house or a day care-type facility for a limited amount of time. These restrictions are sometimes re-evaluated after the passage of time or after the abuser completes an after-care program. In rare cases, a judge may terminate the abuser's parental rights.

Contact Our New Braunfels Family Violence Attorney

Family violence can have a profound effect on the physical and emotional well-being of all family members. By requesting restraining orders and addressing child custody issues, people who have experienced abuse can protect their rights and provide for their children's best interests. For prompt assistance with these issues from an experienced attorney, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404. We serve individuals and families throughout South Central Texas.

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