How to get a Restraining Order Texas

Texas Restraining Orders


When it comes to legal protection, understanding restraining orders and protective orders can be a confusing and daunting task. If you are facing harassment or abuse, you may feel lost and unsure of where to turn. In Texas, there are different types of legal orders that can help you protect yourself and your loved ones. Restraining orders and protective orders are two common legal tools that can help you stay safe and secure. Protective Orders are a special and unique area of law that affects family proceedings, criminal proceedings, and civil proceedings.

Texas Restraining Orders
how to get a restraining order in Texas

In this post, we will help you navigate the legal system by providing a comprehensive guide to restraining orders and protective orders in Texas. We’ll explain how they differ, what they entail, and how to obtain them. So whether you are a victim of domestic violence or are just seeking protection from harassment, read on to learn more about these important legal protections.

Restraining vs. Protective Orders

Restraining orders and protective orders are both legal tools to protect a person from harm or harassment. However, they differ in which court issues them, how long they last, and what they prevent.  Understanding the difference between restraining and protective orders is an important part of knowing your rights in Texas.

Restraining Orders – Civil Court

A restraining order is a legal document issued by a court to limit the actions of a person or group of people, typically in civil cases. A restraining order prohibits an individual from engaging in certain behaviors or being in close proximity to the person seeking protection. It is designed to prevent further harm and create a safe environment for the petitioner. These orders can be sought in cases of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or any situation where there is a credible threat to one’s safety.

Protective Orders – Criminal Court

Protective orders, on the other hand, involve criminal proceedings. They are designed to protect victims of family or domestic violence from harassment or abuse. Protective orders may require abusers to keep certain distances away from their victims and avoid any type of threats or violence toward them.

Protective orders differ from restraining orders in the sense that they are primarily aimed at providing safety to victims of family violence. They offer broader protections and can include provisions related to child custody, financial support, and exclusive use of a shared residence. Protective orders are specifically tailored to address the unique dynamics of domestic abuse.

To obtain either type of order, it is necessary to go through a legal process. This generally involves:

  1. filing a petition with the appropriate court
  2. providing evidence of the need for protection
  3. attending a hearing where a judge will determine whether or not to grant the order.

These orders are not permanent and may have expiration dates or require periodic renewal.

Texas Rules Pertaining to Restraining Order

On any given day in the courts of Texas, Rules 680 and 683 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure may be called into action. Both of these rules provide guidance to the courts on how to handle requests for injunction or restraining order hearings.

Rule 680 – Temporary Restraining Order

Rule 680 outlines the details that need to be included in a temporary restraining order if it is granted without notice to the opposing party. These details include the date and hour of issuance, the injury, and irreparable harm being inflicted, and the expiration date of the order.

Rule 683 – Form and Scope of Injunction or Restraining Order

Rule 683 stipulates that every order granting an injunction or restraining order should set forth its reasons for issuance, should be specific in terms, and should identify all parties who are bound by the order. Additionally, any order granting a temporary injunction must include an order setting the cause for trial on the merits with respect to the ultimate relief sought, and no more than one extension of a temporary restraining order may be granted unless subsequent extensions are unopposed.

Restraining Orders – Texas Harassment & Abuse Types Covered

In Texas, protective orders are issued to protect individuals from various forms of abuse and harassment. The types of abuse covered by protective orders in Texas include:

Type of Abuse Description
Physical Abuse Any act of physical harm, violence, or threat of violence against the victim. This includes hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, or using weapons to cause harm.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse The use of verbal and non-verbal tactics to manipulate, control, demean, or intimidate the victim. This can include threats, insults, gaslighting, emotional manipulation, isolation, and stalking.
Sexual Abuse Non-consensual sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, sexual harassment, or any form of sexual coercion or assault against the victim.
Stalking A pattern of unwanted attention and harassment, such as following the victim, making repeated unwanted contact, monitoring their activities without consent, or engaging in threatening behavior that causes fear or distress.
Cyberbullying or Online Harassment Using electronic communication to harass, threaten, or intimidate the victim, such as sending abusive messages, spreading rumors, or posting private information online to cause harm.
Economic Abuse Controlling the victim’s finances or preventing them from accessing financial resources, which can leave the victim financially dependent and vulnerable.
Harassment or Intimidation Any behavior aimed at instilling fear, distress, or annoyance in the victim, making them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Child Abuse Protective orders can also cover cases where the victim is a child who is being abused or witnessing abuse.
Elder Abuse Similar to child abuse, protective orders can also protect elderly individuals from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Types of Restraining Orders in Texas

The primary purpose of a restraining order is to establish a legal barrier between the victim and the alleged abuser, ensuring the victim’s safety and well-being. By obtaining a restraining order, the victim gains legal protection and the ability to enforce consequences if the order is violated.

In Texas, there are various types of restraining orders that serve different purposes. The most common ones include:

Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order

Temporary Ex Parte Protective Orders (Texas Family Code 83.006) are typically issued without prior notice to the alleged abuser and offers immediate protection to the victim. It is granted based on the victim’s sworn statement, detailing the need for emergency protection.

Temporary Protective Order

Similar to the temporary ex parte protective order, this type of order also provides immediate protection to the victim. However, it is issued after a hearing where both parties have the opportunity to present their case.

Final or Permanent Protective Order

This order is put in place for a more extended period and can be issued after a full hearing. The victim must provide sufficient evidence of ongoing harm or a credible threat of harm for the order to be granted.

Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection
Restraining order Texas harassment

Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection

The Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection is granted when an individual has been arrested for one or more of the following offenses:

  • stalking – repeated and unwelcome advances or communication by one individual to another that causes fear, intimidation, or annoyance
  • indecent assault – any contact between two people that brings physical or emotional harm. This includes unwanted touching, fondling, kissing, or other unwanted sexual contact
  • sexual abuse – when an adult uses power or authority to manipulate, force, or coerce a person into sexual activity that they do not consent to
  • sexual assault – one person forces another into sexual acts or activities without their consent. This includes any activity involving penetration, including rape and attempted rape.
  • trafficking –  crimes related to the exploitation of people for financial gain. This can include labor trafficking, forced prostitution, and child sex trafficking.

It serves as an immediate and authoritative protection for victims of these violent crimes and can last anywhere from 31 to 91 days depending on the severity of the offense and whether a deadly weapon was used.

In order to obtain this form of a protective order, no petition must be filed in civil court – it is instead issued by a criminal court at the request of either a guardian, the arresting police officer, or the prosecutor. Additionally, the judge may decide to issue the order independently.

Often, the issuance of this type of restraining order provides a crucial time for victims to find safety and seek aid from local community resources such as social service agencies or counseling services. While this order of emergency protection is temporary, it can provide the opportunity for victims to make longer-term plans for their safety while waiting for the court to hold a full hearing on the case.

What proof do you need for a restraining order in Texas?

Obtaining a restraining order in Texas is a legal process designed to provide protection to individuals who are facing threats or harassment. However, it’s important to understand that not everyone is eligible to obtain a restraining order. There are specific criteria that must be met in order to qualify for this legal protection.

Restraining Orders Texas

The individual seeking the restraining order must have a qualifying relationship with the person they are seeking protection from. This can include:

  • spouses
  • former spouses
  • individuals with whom they share a child
  • family members
  • individuals who are or have been in a dating relationship.

It’s important to note that Texas law does not recognize restraining orders for friends, neighbors, or acquaintances.

The person seeking the restraining order must be able to provide sufficient evidence of a credible threat or act of violence. This can include:

  • instances of physical abuse
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • any behavior that poses a substantial risk of harm to the individual seeking protection.

The eligibility criteria for obtaining a restraining order in Texas include the requirement that the individual seeking protection must be in immediate danger or fear for their safety. It’s important to establish that there is a genuine and ongoing threat that necessitates the need for legal intervention.

Document any incidents or threats with evidence such as photographs, text messages, emails, or witness testimonies.

Obtaining a restraining order requires filing the necessary paperwork and appearing in court to present the case. It’s highly recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law and domestic violence to ensure that all legal requirements are met and to navigate the process effectively.

Steps to Get a Restraining Order in Texas

Obtaining a restraining order in Texas can be a crucial step in protecting yourself or someone you know from potential harm or harassment. It is essential to understand the steps involved in the process to ensure the safety and well-being of the individuals involved.

  1. Determine eligibility: The first step in obtaining a restraining order is to determine if you are eligible to file for one. In Texas, you may be eligible for a protective order if you are the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  2. File the petition: Once eligibility is established, you need to file a petition for a protective order with the appropriate court. This typically involves completing the necessary forms, which can be obtained from the courthouse or online: FM-FH-102-TRO-Affidavit . It is crucial to provide accurate and detailed information about the incidents and individuals involved to support your case.
  3. Temporary ex parte order: In urgent situations where immediate protection is needed, you can request a temporary ex parte order. This order can be obtained without the presence of the alleged abuser, providing immediate protection until a full hearing can be scheduled.
  4. Serve the respondent: After filing the petition, the respondent must be officially served with the legal documents. This is typically done by a law enforcement officer or a private process server. Proper service ensures that the respondent is aware of the legal proceedings and their obligations under the restraining order.
  5. Attend the hearing: A court hearing will be scheduled to review the petition and determine whether a permanent protective order should be granted. It is crucial to gather any evidence, such as photographs, witness statements, or medical records, to support your case. During the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your evidence and testify about the incidents.

Granting a Protective Order

If the court finds sufficient evidence and determines that a protective order is necessary, a permanent protective order will be issued. This order outlines the specific terms and conditions that the respondent must adhere to, such as maintaining a certain distance, refraining from contact, or surrendering firearms.

Enforcement and modification

Once a protective order is granted, it is essential to understand its terms and take necessary precautions to ensure compliance. Violations of a protective order can have serious consequences. If circumstances change or additional incidents occur, you may seek to modify the protective order to better suit your needs.

Documentation for a Restraining Order

When it comes to obtaining a restraining order or protective order in Texas, documentation and evidence play a crucial role. These legal orders are designed to protect individuals from harassment, threats, or violence, but without proper documentation, it can be challenging to prove the need for such protection.

Restraining Order Court
Understanding Restraining Orders and Protective Orders in Texas


Compile thorough documentation of the incidents that have occurred. This includes documenting dates, times, locations, and any relevant details of each incident. It is crucial to be as specific as possible, providing a clear narrative of what transpired. Additionally, if there were any witnesses present during these incidents, obtaining their statements or contact information can significantly strengthen your case.


Evidence can include photographs, videos, text messages, emails, or any other form of communication that demonstrates the harassment or threats you have experienced. It is essential to preserve this evidence and make copies to present to the court. Remember, the more extensive and compelling the evidence, the stronger your case will be.

Restraining orders and protective orders are not granted automatically. The burden of proof lies with the petitioner, meaning that you must provide sufficient evidence to convince the court that the order is necessary for your safety and well-being. Therefore, thorough documentation and compelling evidence are vital in ensuring a successful outcome.

Seek legal assistance throughout the process.

An experienced attorney can guide you through the complexities of obtaining a restraining order, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken and all required documentation is provided.

Temporary restraining orders vs. permanent restraining orders

When it comes to seeking legal protection from an individual, it’s crucial to understand the difference between temporary restraining orders (TROs) and permanent restraining orders (PROs) in the state of Texas. These legal measures serve to protect individuals from harassment, abuse, or threats, but they differ in terms of duration and the level of evidence required.

Temporary restraining orders

Temporary restraining orders are typically issued in emergency situations where immediate protection is necessary. They are designed to provide temporary relief until a court hearing can be held to determine whether a permanent restraining order is warranted. A TRO can be obtained quickly and without the alleged abuser’s presence, providing immediate safety for the victim. However, it is important to note that TROs are temporary in nature and typically last for a short period, usually around 14 days, until the court hearing where a decision on a PRO is made.

Permanent restraining orders are granted after a court hearing where both parties have the opportunity to present their evidence and arguments. A PRO offers long-term protection, usually for a period of several months or even years, depending on the severity of the situation. To obtain a PRO, the victim must provide sufficient evidence to convince the court that they are in imminent danger or have been subjected to ongoing harassment or abuse. The court will carefully assess the evidence presented and make a decision based on the best interest and safety of the victim.

Significance of Protective Orders in Texas

In Texas, protective orders play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals who have experienced harassment, threats, or violence. Understanding the significance of protective orders is vital for anyone navigating legal protection in the state.

Texas Protective Orders

A protective order  is a legal document issued by a court to protect victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Its primary purpose is to establish boundaries and prohibit the abuser from contacting or approaching the victim. By obtaining a protective order, victims gain an extra layer of security and legal recourse if the abuser violates the terms outlined within the order.

One of the key benefits of obtaining a protective order in Texas is the ability to enlist law enforcement’s assistance in enforcing the order. This means that if the abuser breaches the terms of the protective order, the victim can report the violation to the police, who will take appropriate action.

Protective orders in Texas can encompass various provisions, depending on the nature of the situation. These provisions may include:

  • barring the abuser from contacting the victim in any form
  • coming within a certain distance of the victim’s residence or workplace
  • or even temporarily granting custody or visitation rights to the children involved.

Resources and Support for Legal Protection in Texas

Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to seeking protection through restraining orders and protective orders. Thankfully, there are numerous resources and support available in Texas to assist individuals in these difficult situations.

Texas Advocacy Project

One valuable resource is the Texas Advocacy Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. They offer a wide range of services, including legal advice, assistance with filing protective orders, and information on other legal remedies available to survivors.

Texas Advocacy Project
Texas Advocacy Project; image via KLBJ – Austin, TX

Local Domestic Violence Organizations

In addition to the Texas Advocacy Project, local law enforcement agencies and courts can also provide guidance and information on obtaining restraining orders and protective orders. They can explain the process, help complete necessary paperwork, and offer referrals to other support services in the community.

These organizations often have trained advocates who can provide emotional support, safety planning, and assistance with navigating the legal system. They can help individuals understand their rights, connect them with legal resources, and offer a safe space during this challenging time.

Texas Attorney General’s Office

The Texas Attorney General’s Office provides valuable information and resources on its website regarding legal protections for victims of domestic violence, including restraining orders and protective orders. Their website offers step-by-step guidance, frequently asked questions, and access to relevant legal forms.

FAQs about How to get a restraining order Texas

How much does it cost to get a restraining order in Texas?

The cost of getting a restraining order will depend on the county you are filing in, but generally, fees range from $35-$100.

Can I put a restraining order on someone in Texas?

Yes! You can file for an order of protection (restraining order) if there has been family violence, or if you believe there is an immediate danger of family violence.

How does a restraining order work in Texas?

A restraining order prohibits the person from having any contact with you. This includes physical contact, communication in any form, coming near your home, workplace, or school. The court can also set other restrictions in the order such as prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm.

What is the difference between a no-contact order and a restraining order in Texas?

A no-contact order is part of the restraining order and states that the respondent must not have any contact with the petitioner while the order is in effect.

What is considered harassment in Texas?

Harassment is defined by Texas law as “conduct directed at a person that is meant to cause them emotional distress or fear” including disorderly conduct, stalking, cyber-stalking, telephone harassment, and verbal or physical threats.

Can I go close to the person I have a restraining order against?

No. If you have a restraining order against someone, you must not have any contact with them at all, which includes staying away from their residence, workplace, and school.

How far does a restraining order have to be in Texas?

It depends on the individual case, but generally, the court will enforce the same basic terms of a protective order which requires both parties to stay a certain distance away from one another.

How long is a no-contact order Texas?

No contact orders are usually valid until the next court hearing date when the judge will review the case and decide whether to extend or terminate the order.

What happens if someone violates a restraining order in Texas?

Violating a restraining order is considered contempt of court and could result in fines and/or jail time, depending on the severity of the violation.

 How long does a temporary restraining order last in Texas?

Temporary restraining orders are usually valid for up to 14 days from the date they are issued.

How do I know if I have restraining order on me in Texas?

You can contact your local court clerk to find out if you have a restraining order against you.

Can you have a gun with a restraining order in Texas?

No. Under Texas law, it is illegal for anyone who has a restraining order against them to possess firearms or ammunition.


We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights into the complex world of legal protection in Texas, specifically restraining orders and protective orders. Navigating these processes can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging, but it is crucial to understand your rights and options. By familiarizing yourself with the information we’ve shared, you can make more informed decisions and take the necessary steps to protect yourself or your loved ones. Remember, seeking professional legal advice is always recommended in these situations. Stay safe and empowered, and know that you are not alone in your journey toward legal protection in Texas.

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