Restraining Order

Tips for Leaving an Abusive Spouse in Texas

Jad J. Stepp

Jad J. Stepp is the managing shareholder of Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., a Houston-based firm that focuses on probate and elder law matters, as well as estate planning, personal injury, aviation, and maritime litigation. For over 35 years he has been trying lawsuits in both federal and state court and has been the lead trial lawyer in complex litigation in many areas.
Jad J. Stepp

Going through a divorce is never easy. Even when a split is amicable, it can take its toll on separating spouses. When a divorce is needed to leave an abusive relationship, the experience is beset with a number of stressful and anxiety-ridden challenges. 

If you’re considering a divorce to leave an abusive spouse in Texas, it’s essential that you contact an experienced and skilled divorce attorney as soon as you can. After securing a trusted divorce attorney, they’ll file a petition for divorce along with a temporary restraining order (TRO) for your protection. While a TRO must be renewed every 14 days, having it is the first step toward security. After filing the temporary restraining order, your divorce lawyer will seek a more permanent protective order that’s enforceable by both civil and criminal penalties should your abuser refuse to comply. 

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Leave an Abusive Spouse

Often in an abusive home, a spouse hesitates to leave their husband or wife for fear of retribution or other consequences. They might worry about their reputation in the community, financial security, physical violence, or other distressing factors. However, many survivors of abuse later express that leaving an abusive marriage is the first significant step toward living a better life. 

Signs that it may be necessary to divorce an abusive spouse include repeat instances where they have:

  • Physically harmed you
  • Limited your contact with others
  • Monitored your schedule
  • Limited your use of your car
  • Destroyed your property

No one should ever have to stay in a relationship where they’re subjected to abusive behavior or can’t act freely.

Texas Laws Protect Abuse Victims

If you’ve been physically abused in your marriage, there are laws in Texas that will help you safely escape from that marriage. Equally, there are laws in place to help you escape a marriage that’s emotionally abusive or controlling. This legal protection granted by state law is the key to walking away from your abusive marriage feeling more secure and stronger than before.

Texas family law grants protective orders for abused spouses that restrain all contact from their abusers. There are also protections for children when ending an abusive marriage. If you’re worried that your abusive husband or wife will harm your children, the court can enforce supervised visitations. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, Texas courts can terminate complete parental rights should the need arise. An experienced divorce lawyer can counsel you on the best way to defend yourself and your children when initiating a divorce with an abusive spouse.  

What’s the Process of Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas?

When a temporary restraining order (TRO) needs to be filed in Texas, your attorney will file it with your petition for divorce. The TRO must be renewed every two weeks until your temporary order court hearing is scheduled, which can take 1-2 months. If your TRO must be renewed, your attorney will handle that for you. 

After the hearing, it can take a few more weeks before a decision is made, and your attorney will advise you on what your next step should be. If a final protective order is granted, it’s valid for two years. 

Hire Trusted Divorce Lawyers in Houston

If you’ve been abused in your marriage and feel that you’re in danger, taking steps to leave the situation can sometimes feel intimidating. You might feel alone in your struggles, but there are protective laws on the books, and legal help is available. 

When you’re ready to initiate a divorce and leave your abusive marriage, the divorce lawyers at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., can help. With more than 70 years of combined experience, we strive to be the best divorce attorneys in Texas. We work with you through every step of the divorce process and make sure you receive every protection offered by the law to put a stop to the abuse so you can live with freedom and security.  

The first step toward freedom is speaking with a knowledgeable and trusted divorce attorney. At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., we take a client-focused approach to meet our one goal of bettering each of our clients’ lives. To schedule a free consultation with a Houston divorce lawyer, complete an online contact form or call today at (713) 336-7200.

Scroll to Top