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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 action 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 that lives in the same household or is in the same family as the perpetrator is also considered to be family violence.

Dating violence explained

If you are in a relationship with a person it is possible to suffer or perpetrate dating violence. Dating violence is defined as an action or threat of an action by a person 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 actually apply for a protective order

Any adult in a household can file for a protective order in regard to family violence on behalf of themselves or any other member of their household 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 in regard to family violence as well. In relation to dating violence, any adult member of the relationship can file for a protective order.

Again, you must be able to show a court that either family violence has already occurred or it is likely to occur 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?

If a court determines that you were the victim of an act of family violence then 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 as well as the school or daycare of a child that is protected by an order.

Harassing behavior is barred as well. Something that not a lot of 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. In the event that you are in the United States illegally and violate a protective order then you may be deported as a result of that violation. Criminal charges are also possible if they stem from the violation of 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 that is near to where you reside. The protective order can remain in effect for up to two years but frequently the time length is less than two years.

Name Changes for a minor child

With the approval of a court, you may change the name of a child 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 good cause to in fact change the name of the child.

You must notify the other parent of the child if his or her parental rights have not been terminated. Likewise, any other 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 times a name change is requested in order 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 he or she must give their permission to having their name be changed.

Name Changes for an adult

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

Otherwise, you can file for a name change within a petition (like for a child) and would need to include the same information- your current name, reason for requesting the name change as well as 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 is going to become official as a result of a divorce but will be in the event that 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 please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. One of our licensed family lawattorneys 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.


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  4. Protective Orders in Texas Family Law Cases
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  6. Divorcing from an Abusive Spouse in Texas: What you Need to Know
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.


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