At this moment, there may be many in San Antonio being subjected to spousal abuse. Information shared by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows that an average of 20 people are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every minute across the U.S. Yet many may suffer silently, fearful that if they did try to leave their marriages, they would have little legal recourse to protect themselves from their abusers.
Fortunately, Texas law has taken the potential for danger to exist in cases where couples have separated because of abuse into account. After one has officially filed for divorce, he or she may petition the court to have a temporary restraining order enacted against his or her abuser. Listed below are the types of activities such an order would impact, along with specific examples of what it prohibits:
- Communication: Phone calls (including those placed anonymously) meant to annoy, demean, or threaten; reading or diverting emails; deleting content from social media accounts, accessing any electronics accounts without authorization.
- Contact: Damaging or destroying tangible or intellectual property; unauthorized entry into the petitioner’s vehicle; denying access to property; threatening or causing physical harm.
- Representation: Endorsing financial documents with the petitioner’s name; falsifying property records.
- Finances: Assuming debt; selling property; accessing the petitioner’s safety deposit box; altering or canceling insurance coverage; canceling credit cards; altering employee tax withholdings, destroying financial records; canceling utility services.
- Divorce: Damaging community property meant to be included in a division of assets; refusing to disclose assets; altering or destroying data meant to be used in divorce proceedings.
If it believes it to be necessary, the court itself may impose a protective order even if the one filing to dissolve the marriage has not asked for it.