by George White
Your client comes in, she is married and has left her husband, maybe staying in a shelter, he has changed the locks and she is afraid of him. The husband might even be subject to an EPO, but she cannot get her or her child’s property and has no time or money for family court. We all have seen variations on those scenarios.
Chapter 24A, Texas Property Code, a new section after evictions, now allows for an Order of Retrieval from the local J.P. It is relatively quick, cheap, and effective, at least for recovering the essentials. With a filing fee of $237, a fill in the blank form provided by the Court, a couple of friends as surety, and you can get the Judge to sign an Order of Retrieval, which has the benefit of a peace officer’s standby, something we rarely get. You can enter the residence and recover an itemized list of your property. The categories are listed in the Order. They include:
· Medical records
· Medicine and medical supplies
· Child care items
· Legal or Financial Documents, including checks or bank or credit cards in the name of the
· Employment records
· Personal identification documents
· Educational or work-related books and supplies, including electronic devices
· Items pertaining to personal safety
There are requirements. The application must be accompanied by a surety bond. The applicant cannot be under an EPO or a PO. The applicant must have been a resident of the apartment/house and provide proof. The applicant must not then be otherwise legally barred from the residence. The applicant must prove there is an immediate risk of personal harm to the applicant or his/her minor child if the property is not retrieved. Notice must be given to the person occupying the residence with an opportunity to be heard.
Once issued, a peace officer goes with the applicant and supervises the retrieval. He can use reasonable force to execute this Order. He inventories the items retrieved, he provides copies to the parties and the court, and, he can arrest the resident if he/she interferes with the retrieval for a Class B misdemeanor.
This solution is not perfect but should allow your client enough of his/her property to minimize the damage of the split up and continue living until you can resolve all other issues. If she is without funds to hire you she can do it his/herself.
George White, principal in the Law Office of George White, P.C. and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.