Domestic violence is a terrible reality, but it is a reality. The damage
and trauma experienced by both parties will have lasting consequences.
Having a domestic violence charge will cause a ripple effect in the accused’s
life. Divorce rulings, for example, can quickly turn against their favor.
Texas typically requires a waiting period after a divorce has been filed.
According to state law, finalizing a divorce takes at least 60 days from
the date of filing. The judge may officially grant the divorce after that.
A domestic violence charge changes that. It may speed up this process.
When one partner has been convicted of domestic violence against the other,
the divorce can go through immediately.
In the event of a domestic violence charge, the perpetrator could be served
with a protective order, often called a restraining order. Protective
orders will block access to not only the spouse, but also their children.
The receiver of a protective order must stay away from the victim and
In Texas, the person who receives a protective order loses their second
amendment rights. Unless they are a cop, they cannot own a firearm for
the duration of the order, and they lose their concealed carry privileges
while the order is in effect.
Violating a protective order is punishable by a fine of $4,000, a year
in jail, or both. Repeated offenses, three or more times, becomes a felony.
In civil courts, there are two types of protective orders that may be issued.
Ex-Parte Temporary Protective Order
When someone fears for their safety, they may file for a temporary protective
order. If they are able to prove the abuse to a judge, the order lasts
20 days. “Ex-parte” means that it may be filed and approved
without the presence of a defendant.
Final or Permanent Protective Order
When a spouse files for a final protective order, the defendant has the
right to appear in court and plead their case. If the judge approves the
order, it lasts for up to two years.
A parent who has been charged with domestic violence could be viewed as
a danger to the children. Child custody rulings are always meant to serve
the best interests of a child. A home – or a parent – that
a judge considers unsafe for the child is not likely to gain custody of
that child. The abused parent will likely gain sole conservatorship of
the children. “Conservator” is Texas’s term for the
legal parent or guardian of a child.
Judges will look at the history of the home. If there is a pattern of child
neglect, abuse, and/or sexual abuse, parents may be denied visitation as well.
Division of Property
Texas uses a “community property” model when dividing assets.
All property acquired during the marriage is considered “communal”
or “community” property. This includes anything either party
bought during the marriage and their combined incomes. Separate property
includes gifts or inheritances given by people outside of the marriage.
Community property division, which is the least used property division
model in the U.S., works on a pretty simple premise. Take the entirety
of the communal assets and divide it 50/50 among divorcees, a completely
equal split, but there’s a catch.
Texan judges are given wide authority to divide the property in a way that
they deem “just and fair.” On paper, the system is meant to
execute an even split, but judges can divide assets in such a way that
makes the split more “equitable” and less “equal.”
A domestic violence charge isn’t going to win any favors with the
judge. They could, if they wanted to, rule that an abused spouse is entitled
to more money to make up for their pain and suffering during the marriage.
Once the property is divided evenly, the court looks at what is left over.
If, as the result of a divorce, one spouse will be left unable to meet
their basic needs, the judge will rule for spousal maintenance. Spousal
support in Texas is meant to be a way to get a spouse back on their feet.
The state doesn’t want someone to become dependent on support. Sometimes,
judges even refer to it as “rehabilitative support.” For that
reason, Texas has a chart for the length of time a spouse can expect to
With a domestic violence charge, the abuser may need to pay spousal support
even when the split does not leave the victim destitute.
The length of time for spousal maintenance in Texas is based on the length
of the marriage. The chart looks like this:
- If the marriage lasted 10 to 30 years, spousal support lasts for 5 years.
- If the marriage lasted 20 to 30 years, spousal support lasts for 7 years.
- If the marriage lasted 30 or more years, spousal supports lasts for 10 years.
A domestic violence charge is serious, and its effects are wide and long
lasting. When it’s time for the divorce, both parties need to secure
a good lawyer to help build a better future for everyone.
If you have questions or concerns about a domestic violence charge in your
divorce, we can help. Consultations are free and there’s no risk
involved, so call today at (713) 936-2300 or contact us online.