Who are the Applicant and Respondent in a Protective Order?

The Applicant, in a Family Violence Protective Order, is the person seeking the court’s protection. The Respondent is the person whose freedom is limited by the Protective Order.

The terms of the protective order require the Respondent to engage in certain behaviors to ensure the security and well-being of the Applicant.  Some common terms prohibit the respondent from committing acts of domestic violence, harassing or threatening the Applicant, going near the Applicant’s residence or workplace, or possessing a firearm.  Other terms include temporary child custody orders, requiring the Respondent to pay certain bills, or prohibiting the Respondent from disconnecting utilities.

When the Respondent fails to abide by the terms, he commits another criminal offense called Violation of a Protective Order.

Other Protected People and Places

Sometimes, a Family Violence Protective Order protects the children or roommates of the Applicant. Such orders often prohibit the Respondent from going near the children’s school or the roommates place of employment.

Who are the Cross-Applicant and Cross-Respondent?

In Travis County, when the Respondent seeks his own Protective Order against the original Applicant, this is sometimes referred to as a “cross application” even though it is functionally a counter application.

Carrying the confusing “cross” terminology forward, the Respondent may be referred to as the Cross-Applicant and the Applicant may be referred to as the Cross-Respondent.  The more accurate terms would be Counter-Applicant and Counter-Respondent.

Counter Applications for Protective Order are common in situations involving mutual combat or self-defense.