Exploring the Definitions of Family Under Texas Law

November 18, 2019

Under Texas law, all types of violent crimes that are directed towards a household or family member are considered domestic violence. Dating relationships may also be included provided they meet certain requirements. 

If you are facing criminal charges of this type, you should seek legal counsel from a proven and capable Houston domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. 

Who is Considered Family in Texas 

Texas Family Code has provided specific definitions of who may be considered family. Some of the key definitions are as follows: 

Family Violence 

This is defined as a violent criminal act between blood relatives (relatives of consanguinity) or between those who are related by affinity (marriage). It may include violence between parents of the same child, foster children as well as foster parents. 

houston domestic assault attorneyMembers of a Household

A household is defined as a single living unit where various people share the same house. It is not necessary for them to be blood relatives or related by marriage. Under Texas law, individuals who have moved out of the household may still be considered as household members. 

Dating Relationship

This occurs when two people share a continuing intimate or romantic relationship. The relationship will be defined by its nature, length, how frequently both individuals saw each other, and whether there was an expectation of intimacy

Dating Violence 

This includes any act of assaultive violence against a person with whom you had a dating relationship. Applicants of protective orders are also included under this definition.

An accomplished Houston domestic assault attorney can guide you about the key legal aspects of your case and create a robust defense strategy to protect your rights. 

Legal Definition of Family/Household Violence 

Under Texas law, family or household violence is defined as any type of act that one family/household member commits against another member, which is: 

  • Intended to cause bodily harm, physical injury (which includes physical pain, damage to physical condition, or illness), assault, or sexual assault
  • A threat which reasonably makes a family member fearful of bodily harm, physical injury, assault, or sexual assault 
  • houston criminal defense attorneyA specific act committed against a child of the family/household member
  • Dating violence 

Acts of Domestic Violence Against a Child of a Family Member

Your Houston criminal defense attorney will explain the specific acts that may be committed by a family/household member against a child of the family/household member. These include: 

  • Physical injury resulting in substantial harm to the child 
  • Sexual conduct that harms the child’s physical, emotional, or mental welfare 
  • Encouraging or forcing the child to engage in prostitution, trafficking, or sexual conduct
  • Causing, encouraging, permitting, allowing, or engaging in sexual performance by a child 
  • Causing, encouraging, permitting, allowing or engaging in obscene or pornographic filming, photographing, or depicting the child 
  • Use of a drug (controlled substance) where the use results in mental, emotional or physical injury to a child
  • Causing, encouraging, or specifically permitting a child to use drugs 
  • Coercing or forcing a child to enter into a marriage

An experienced Houston domestic violence attorney will be able to explain to you that any violence committed to protecting yourself and your children (where you acted in self-defense) may not be considered as family violence.

If you or someone you love has been arrested for a domestic crime of any kind, you need the best possible legal support. At Texas-based Flood & Associates, we have an impressive win rate and a tremendously experienced team. Call our team 24/7, 365 at 713-224-5529 for a free case review or contact us online to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.


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*Use of this form does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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