Skip to main content

If you experienced acts of violence from a family, dating partner, or household member, a protective order may ban them from contacting you or going near you, and stop them from doing more harm.

Am I eligible for a protective order?

The family violence protective order may be available if you have experienced one or more acts of violence. This can include bodily injury, threats of bodily injury, sexual assault, or stalking behaviors.

There is additional eligibility for other types of protective orders.

How do I get a protective order?

To get started with the application process, you first have to decide how you’ll navigate the legal process:

While you can legally represent yourself, working with an experienced attorney can lead to more success. There are non-profit organizations that offer free or low-cost legal help.

You don’t have to do this alone!

The Travis County Attorney’s Office may represent you at no cost. Please reach out to us at (512) 854-4163 to talk about your options and to ask any questions you may have about the overall process.

Application Process

Applying for a protective order may feel overwhelming. If you choose to represent yourself (Pro Se Litigant), you can reach out to the Law Library for help. These are the steps you can expect on your journey to get a protective order:


Gather Information

You (the person seeking the protective order) or your attorney must first gather all relevant information related to the abuse or violence. This can include dates, times, addresses, and other details about any injuries or damages sustained.

You should also gather any evidence that supports your claims, such as photos, videos, police reports, or witness statements.

The following documents can be very useful in building your case, if you have them:

  • Copies of divorce and/or custody agreements
  • Social security number of your children
  • Names & addresses of your children’s school
  • CPS caseworker and/or case number

Fill Out an Application

The application form requires information about the victim (you, the Applicant) and the abuser (known as the Respondent), details about the act of violence, and information about any previous protective orders involving the parties. Make copies of the form.

Download the Application
(located on page 14 of the document)


Fill Out an Affidavit

An affidavit is a written statement of facts that is made under oath and is used as evidence in court.

While it may be difficult and traumatic to write about your abuse, this document is critical because it will be reviewed directly by a judge.

The affidavit is considered evidence and must include relevant details on the attack. An attorney will be able to help draft an affidavit that may include more specific information that a judge will look for.

Make copies of this form also.

Download the Affidavit
(located on page 18 of the document)


Fill Out the Temporary Ex Parte Order

The Temporary Ex Parte Order prohibits abusive behavior from the time the application is filed until the Final Order is granted. The signed order must be served to the Respondent to be enforceable.

This order is generally in place for 2 weeks, but can be extended by agreement of the parties.

Download the Ex Parte Order
(located on page 25 of the document)


File the Paperwork

Next, the application, affidavit, and proposed Temporary Ex Parte Order must be filed with a clerk. These documents must describe the abuse or violence.

If you have children with the abuser and/or have divorced the abuser, you must file your case with the District Clerk. Learn how to file with the District Clerk Family Division. You can schedule an appointment or contact the office for more help.

Otherwise, you may file with the County Clerk.


Serve the Respondent

The abuser (known as the Respondent) must be served with copy of the application, affidavit, Temporary Ex Parte Order, and notice of the hearing. This can be done by a constable or private process server.

If you’re not represented by an attorney, you may need to coordinate the service yourself. When filing your paperwork, ask the clerk for more information about what exactly you need to do.

Download the Constable 5
Service Form


Attend a Hearing

To get a final protective order, you will need to appear before a judge. You will be notified of your hearing date in advance. At the hearing, you or your attorney will present evidence.


Receive the Final Protective Order

If the judge grants a final protective order, this order can last up to two years or longer.


Serve the Respondent with the Final Order

The abuser (known as the Respondent) must be served with a copy of the Final Protective Order. This can be done by a constable or private process server.

If you’re not represented by an attorney, you may need to coordinate the service yourself. When filing your paperwork, ask the clerk for more information about what exactly you need to do.

Use the “Constable 5 Service Form” in Step 6 for help serving the order.


Report Potential Violations

If they violate the order, they can be charged criminally or found in civil contempt. If the respondent violates the order you should immediately call 911.

What happens if my abuser violates the protective order?

Violators may face criminal charges or be held in civil contempt, which may result in jail time and fines.

Criminal Charges

Criminal charges may result in fines and/or jail time that can vary from 1 year up to 10 years, depending on whether the violation is a misdemeanor or a felony.

Violations include:

  • Committing acts of violence against the applicant/victim.
  • Communicating with the applicant in the prohibited manner as listed in the protective order.
  • Going within 200 yards of the applicant’s residence or place of employment or the children’s school or daycare.
  • Possessing firearms and ammunition

Civil Contempt

Civil contempt violations may result in fines of up to $500 and/or six months in jail for all other violations.

Violations include:

  • Failure to attend Battering Intervention Program and/or drug and alcohol counseling.
  • Failure to pay child support.
  • Failure to pay court costs.
  • Failure to return child as specified in Protective Order.
  • Failure to stay 200 yards away from Applicant/children in public places.

What CAN’T the protective order do?

Please keep in mind that the protective orders cannot guarantee your complete safety.

To keep yourself safe, speak to a domestic violence counselor about making a safety plan.

Call for Help

If you are in a domestic violence situation and need immediate help, please call 9-1-1 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799- SAFE (7233).

Related Resources

Family Violence Task Force Contact Card

Call the Travis County Attorney’s Office to see if you qualify for free representation at (512) 854-4163.


If you need immediate help, please call 9-1-1 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799- SAFE (7233).


Get Domestic Violence Help

Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence