Domestic Violence

What is family violence? How is it defined?

Family Violence is an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

It also includes child abuse as defined in the family code which include: (1) physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, (2)sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, (3)  the current use by a person of a controlled substance, and (4) causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance.

How is a person protected from Family Violence?

The Family Code provides numerous protections from family violence.  The most important and far reaching is a protective order. 

What is a Protective Order?

A protective order is a Court order that is rendered when an Applicant (the victim of family violence) proves in a Court hearing that Family Violence has occurred and that it is likely to occur in the future.  If a protective order is granted it may include orders that preclude the respondent from possession of the applicant’s children, exclude the Respondent from any joint residence, and preclude the Respondent from going near the Applicant’s home, place of business, or a child’s school.

What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is an act of family violence committed against a party to a dating relationship.  Importantly, it provides the protections of a Protective Order in circumstances where the parties have an intimate relationship, but do not live together.

Practice Areas

From the wide-ranging issues of divorce to the delicate nature of child support and child custody, McFarland Law Firm, P.C. focuses on a variety of issues and cases dealing directly and indirectly with matters of family law.


A Texas divorce involves both the division of the parties’ property and, if children are involved, child custody and child support.


Child Custody

Child custody may be initially rendered in a Divorce or a Suit to Establish the Parent Child-Relationship, which is a custody case between unmarried parties.


Child Support

A child support order may be initially rendered in a Divorce or a Suit to Establish the Parent-Child Relationship, which is a custody case between unmarried parties.


Spousal Support

Spousal support may be awarded in cases where the parties have been married more than 10 years or a spouse has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a crime of family violence.




Mediation is a non-binding confidential settlement conference at which a neutral mediator is present to help you and your spouse reach a final settlement of your case.



Grandparent Visitation

Grandparents have the right to file a lawsuit for visitation and managing conservatorship of a grandchild in certain circumstances OR if both parents consent to the grandparent filing a suit.



Domestic Violence

The Texas Family Code has special provisions for relationships where domestic abuse has occurred or is alleged.



Parents have a right to have their prior custody and child support orders reviewed when there has been a change in circumstances.




Paternity of a child may be initially determined in a Divorce or a Suit to Establish the Parent-Child Relationship, which is a custody case between unmarried parties.



Interstate Issues

When a child custody case involves individuals in different states, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) determines jurisdiction.



Hague Convention

International child abduction and child custody is governed by the international treaty of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.



If a parent has not complied with an order for possession and access to a child or an obligation to pay child support, and that parent does not have a valid defense, then the Court may fine or jail a non-compliant parent.