Protecting Your Family's Future
 

Getting a Protective Order in a Domestic Violence Situation

Getting a Protective Order in a Domestic Violence Situation

When you have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse, every moment—waking or otherwise—can be filled with fear and anxiety. You can live with constant apprehension of an impending attack. In Texas, as in other jurisdictions, you can seek a protective or restraining order preventing your attacker from engaging in certain behaviors. Such an order may be temporary—for a specific period of time—or it may be general. It’s important to understand, however, that even a general protective order will only remain in effect for two years. Contact a Baytown family law attorney to get a protective order.

A protective order can prohibit a wide range of conduct, including:

  • Being physically present within a certain proximity or distance from the victim
  • Being physically present at specific locations, including the victim’s home, place of employment, school, church or other destination
  • Contacting the victim in any way, including phone, mail, e-mail, social media or other means
  • Sending the victim gifts or other items
  • Communicating to the victim through another person, including a child

Protective Order

Obtaining a Protective Order

A court in Texas may issue a protective order where if finds evidence of actual family violence, or a reasonable expectation of the likelihood of abuse. Typically, that determination is made on a case-by-case basis. To pursue a protective order, you may go directly to the district attorney’s office, or you may initiate the process through private legal counsel. You must file the application in either the county where you reside or where the subject of the order lives. There is no requirement that you live in Texas for a minimum amount of time.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, our family law attorney brings more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

How Does the Court Determine the “Best Interests” of the Child?

How Does the Court Determine the Best Interests of the Child?

Under Texas law, when establishing managing conservatorship (custody) and access (visitation) in family law matters, the court must give priority to the “best interests of the child,” crafting an order that promotes the child’s mental, physical and emotional needs. To accomplish that goal, the court has the discretion to grant sole legal and physical custody to one parent, or to make both parents “joint conservators.” Absent extenuating circumstances, the courts prefer to have both parents actively involved in making decisions about the child’s education, medical treatment, legal concerns and extra-curricular involvement. Furthermore, the courts encourage parents to work cooperatively to make decisions that meet the guidelines, getting involved only when that doesn’t happen. Contact a Baytown family law attorney to understand how the court determines the best interests of the child.

best interests of the child

The court can consider a number of factors when making a determination of what is in a child’s best interests, including:

  • The respective ability of each parent to effectively nurture and raise the child
  • The stability of each parent’s home and lifestyle
  • The child’s particular emotional and physical needs, including any special needs
  • Each parent’s plans for the child
  • The extent to which there has been any domestic abuse or violence by either parent, or any type of improper relationship between the child and a parent
  • The child’s wishes, if the child is at least 12 years of age

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Advocates Call for More Funding to Stop Domestic Violence in Texas

Advocates Call for More Funding to Stop Domestic Violence in Texas

Domestic Violence in Texas

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), the agencies that provide support to victims of domestic violence in Texas are bursting at the seams, with nearly half of all requests for services denied, primarily due to a lack of resources. Last year, more than 72,000 victims of domestic abuse found shelter or other services from state-run programs across the state.

Leigh Anne Fry, chairperson of the TCFV, said that the state’s shelters only have enough room to house about two out of every three persons seeking a safe place to stay. Agency staff often find themselves in the difficult position of trying to determine which applicant has the greatest need for shelter. In 2016, shelters had to turn away 39% of those needing temporary housing.

In response, advocates have begun to lobby the Texas legislature to increase funding for domestic abuse programs. They’ve sent thousands of purple postcards to the state capitol in Austin, asking for additional funding request of up to $60 million. Purple was one of the colors commonly associated with the National Women’s Party in the early 1900s and has long been the color of choice for individuals promoting domestic violence awareness. It’s also linked to the Purple Heart, a symbol of peace, courage and dedication to fighting domestic abuse.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, our Baytown family attorneys bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas.

To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Getting Through the Holidays When You Are Divorced

06

It’s that time of year—Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years—when the tradition is to be with family. But what if your family is fractured, the casualty of a divorce? How can you make the holidays a positive experience for everyone, including your children? Here are some tips:

  • Talk about the holidays in advance and agree on a plan—Problems often arise when there are unconfirmed assumptions. Take the time to communicate with your ex and try to work out arrangements that are in the best interests of your children and give you meaningful time as a parent. Be willing to compromise, but only if it’s in everyone’s best interests. When you’ve formulated a plan, communicate it to your children, so they know exactly what to expect.
  • Don’t make the holidays a contest—The parent who buys the biggest gift is not the winner!! Don’t try to outdo your ex—time spent with your children is ultimately more meaningful that any gift you could give.
  • Always put your children’s needs first—You are an adult and you have better coping mechanisms for loss and absence. Your children will more acutely feel the pain of not seeing or spending time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and other important people. Let go of hard feelings for the benefit of your children.
  • Be willing to change—You may have a plan A that has to become a Plan B, whether due to illness, weather or other concerns. Strive to be cooperative without be complacent, engaged without being demanding.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-420-8020 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Texas Man “Camped Out” on Million Dollar Marital Property

Sharafat Khan, a 69-year-old Lakeview resident, spent nearly six months living in the front yard of his seaside mansion after his wife asked him to leave, demanded his keys, and changed all the locks. Though Khan maintained that he had no access to any money, rendering him essentially homeless, he admitted that his camp-out on the couple’s front lawn was essentially a protest, telling reporters that he could stay with friends, but prefers to be on “my own property.”

Khan has let it be known that he is diabetic and has high blood pressure, concerns that have brought visits from the Lakeview police on more than one occasion. After neighbors and passersby started bringing him food, his wife posted a sign on the front lawn, asking people not to leave food for him. “If you want to feed him, take him to your house,” the sign read, also expressing concern that any food left might become infested with maggots.

Khan’s family, however, has not shared the sympathy with his situation that his neighbors have. His 30-year-old son, Zain, said that Sharafat Khan physically and emotionally abused his wife, citing a September 2008 incident where Sharafat Khan was arrested for domestic violence. Zain also said that his father stole money from marital accounts to give to relatives in California. Zain has taken his father for medical and psychiatric treatment, but says his father always leaves and returns to the front lawn of the marital home.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-420-8020 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Someone Called Social Services on Me

What to Do if Someone Calls Social Services on You

You get a notice in the mail or a phone call, or worse yet, a child protective services social worker shows up at your door. How do you best protect yourself?

If you get written notice or a phone call, your first step should be to contact an attorney. If you received a communication by telephone, keep the conversation short and don’t agree to anything. Advise them that you will have your attorney contact them.

If a child services social worker comes to your home unannounced, remember that you don’t have to let them in, unless they have a law enforcement officer with them and have a valid search warrant. This is highly unlikely, as the reason a social worker has come to your home is usually to obtain enough evidence to support an action against you. Tell them that they may not come in, ask for contact information, and advise them that you will have your attorney contact them. Don’t say anything more.

If you know or have reason to know that you have been reported to child protective services, you should start to document everything:

  • Keep a file with copies of all documents received from social services
  • Take pictures of your home, your children or anything that may be related to the investigation
  • If you are contacted by a social worker, send that social worker a follow-up letter documenting exactly what happened during any meeting or conversation.
  • Obtain a video camera, if possible, and be prepared to tape any interview or conversation with a social services worker

Be careful in all dealings with any representatives of child protective services. It may seem like they are trying to be helpful, that they understand your concerns, but they are often looking for any evidence to present against you in a hearing in court.

Contact Us

At the law office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-420-8020 or contact us online.

We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our office is open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Government Efforts to Reduce Domestic Violence by Giving Monies

It is being reported that the Justice Department is giving away over $2 million in grants to those affected by homicides from domestic violence. In an effort to reduce domestic violence, Vice President Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder have confirmed that 12 communities in 10 states are going to get these grants which are aimed to help programs that identify potential victims as well as monitor high-risk offenders. Even though domestic violence rates have decreased over the years, it is startling to note that three women are killed every day by a current or former boyfriend or husband.

In Texas, domestic violence is also known as Family violence and it is defined under 71.004 of the Texas Family Code. This means that Family Violence is: (1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself; (2) abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), and (G) of this law, by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or (3) dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021. The Texas Family Code defines “family” in section 71.003 to mean: “individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Sections 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the biological parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.” This definition is very broad in order to maximize protection of individuals in an attempt to decrease the incidents of family violence. The medical profession defines family violence by three categories of abuse: Sexual, emotional and physical.

If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, you may need a protective order to protect your safety. That is when a good experienced attorney is necessary to guide you along the way and give you the right advice. Stewart Law, PLLC will help you know your rights and advise you in these matters as they have over 8 years of experience in the area. For a consultation and initial assessment of your case, contact us online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of ($50).

 
Left Menu Icon
Stewart Law PLLC