How to File a Restraining Order in Houston Texas

By Teo Spengler - Updated June 16, 2017
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If you already have a lawsuit pending in Houston, you can ask the judge for a restraining order forbidding the other party from harming you or your property. You apply for a restraining order by including a motion in your initial petition or you can file a separate motion with the court at some point after you file the petition that starts the lawsuit.

Harris County Protective Order

Before you file papers urging a court to grant a restraining order, be sure that type of order is what you want. According to the Constable of Harris County, Texas, people tend to confuse three different types of protection available to them through the courts: protective orders, restraining orders and peace bonds.

In Houston, if you are in a domestic abuse situation and being harassed or abused by a family member, boyfriend or girlfriend, the appropriate protection to seek is a protective order. To start the process of obtaining a protective order, go to the Houston Sheriff's Office for help. Whether you get help from the sheriff's office or you go it alone, the request must be filed at the district clerk's office.

A protective order tells the other person to stay away from you and other members of your home, including your kids. That person is ordered not to go to your workplace or your kids' schools. A temporary protective order can be issued for a maximum of 14 days if the court feels you are in danger. After a hearing with both you and the other person present, the court can order a permanent protective order for a maximum of two years.

Harris County Restraining Order

A restraining order doesn't stand on its own in Harris County. In order to apply for one, you must be involved in a lawsuit, like a divorce, against the person you want restrained. Essentially, when you file a request for a restraining order, you're asking the court to order the other party to the lawsuit not to hurt you or your property.

The court can issue a temporary restraining order to protect you until the time the court holds a hearing with notice to the other party. Like the temporary protection order, it lasts a maximum of 14 days. A permanent order lasts until the end of the underlying lawsuit or even longer, at the judge's discretion.

You can file the request as part of the petition for your underlying case, such as part of your divorce petition. Alternatively, after the petition is filed, you can file a separate motion for a restraining order.

Harris County Peace Bond

If someone threatens you, you can apply for a peace bond. This requires the person to post a bond with the court as a guarantee that he will not further threaten or injure you. If he does, he forfeits the amount of the bond and is also subject to criminal prosecution.

To ask for a peace bond in Houston, file a Peace Bond Complaint and Statement of Offense by Complaining Party with the justice of the peace in your precinct. The resulting peace bond can remain in effect up to one year.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson,,, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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