Texas Family Law Courts: Protective Orders and Name Changes

If you have been a victim of family violence due to the actions of a spouse or person you are involved in a relationship with, then you have the option to attempt to get a protective order from a court. This all begs the question: what exactly is family violence?

Family violence is an action or threat of an effort by a member of a “family” or “household” against another member of a “family” or “household” that is intended to cause physical harm, bodily injury, physical assault, or sexual assault or reasonable fear of such action. Abusing a child who lives in the same household or is in the same family as the perpetrator is also considered family violence.

Dating violence explained

If you are in a relationship with a person, you can suffer or perpetrate dating violence. Dating violence is defined as an action or threat of an effort against another person with whom they have or have had a “dating relationship” that is intended to cause physical harm, bodily injury, physical assault, or sexual assault or reasonable fear of such action.

Who can apply for a protective order

Any adult in a household can file for a protective order regarding family violence on behalf of themselves or any other home member, including a child.

The Attorney General of Texas, a District Attorney, or the Department of Family and Protective Services can file for a protective order regarding family violence. Any adult member of the relationship can file for a protective order about dating violence.

Again, you must show a court that either family violence has already occurred or it is likely to happen in the future. A victim’s testimony may be enough on its own to garner a protective order being awarded.

What happens to the perpetrator of family violence?

Suppose a court determines that you were the victim of an act of family violence. In that case, the perpetrator will likely be barred from committing acts of family violence or communicating in any form with you. The perpetrator will be barred additionally from going near your home or business and the school or daycare of a child protected by an order.

Harassing behavior is barred as well. Not many people think of in the context of a protective order is that if you are found to have committed an act of family violence, the protective order will more than likely stop you from having a firearm on your person at any time.

Violations of a protective order can wind up causing you to spend time in jail, possibly. If you are in the United States illegally and violate a protective order, you may be deported due to that violation. Criminal charges are also possible if they stem from violating a protective order.

Law enforcement becomes aware of a protective order going into place against you when the clerk of the court sends copies of the order to any law enforcement body near where you reside. The protective order can remain in effect for up to two years, but the time length is frequently less than two years.

Name Changes for a minor child.

With the approval of a court, you may change a child’s name if you are that child’s parent, legal guardian, managing conservator. The process involves you filing a petition requesting the name change. A court will evaluate whether there is reasonable cause to change the name of the child.

You must notify the other parent of the child if their parental rights have not been terminated. Likewise, any additional managing conservator of the child or guardian of the child must be notified once you file your petition to change the name of your child.

The petition itself must state the current name and address of the child as well as the reason that the name change is being requested.

Often a name change is requested to give the child the same last name as the rest of the family or the same last name as an adoptive parent or newly adjudicated father. A proposed full name but be provided in the petition. If the child is over the age of ten, they must give their permission to have their name be changed.

Name Changes for an adult.

The majority of adult name changes come about due to a divorce. If you are a woman filing for divorce, you can request a name change back to your maiden name.

Otherwise, you can file for a name change within a petition (like for a child). You would need to include the same information- your current name, the reason for requesting the name change, and your criminal background (if any) so that the court can determine that you are not attempting to evade law enforcement as a result of your name change.

An entire background check will be completed, and fingerprinting will be done. This Is not required if your name change will become official as a result of a divorce but will be if you file a separate petition to change your name.

Questions about name changes or protective orders? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

To learn more about how to change the name of an adult or child or to inquire about a protective order, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Law Officeof Bryan Fagan, PLLC. One of our licensed family law attorneys would be honored to meet with you six days a week in a free-of-charge consultation.

Your questions can be answered, and our staff will walk you through the services that we can provide to you as a client.

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore


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