Domestic Violence & Family Law

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The Domestic Violence & Family Law Group provides civil legal assistance in divorce and custody cases and helps victims of family violence and sexual assault obtain protective orders. Attorneys in this group work on the following teams:

Julia Raney Rodriguez, Group Coordinator


TRLA established the Bi-National Project on Family Violence in recognition that familial relationships do not end at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Project's primary purpose is to represent low-income survivors of family violence in cases that involve complex cross-border issues, including abduction of children to another country and evasion of child support by leaving the United States.  

Services & Activities

  • Preparation and submission of applications for assistance under The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (whether the client is in the United States or Mexico);

  • Representation in custody disputes to obtain court orders that include provisions designed to prevent international child abduction;

  • Defense against Hague Petitions filed by perpetrators seeking the return of children to another country;

  • Assistance with Self-Petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA);

  • Assistance in obtaining court orders that are enforceable in the United States and Mexico;

  • Assistance in enforcing court orders from one country in another country;

  • Representation and advice to other low-income survivors of violent crimes whose cases are affected by cross-border activities of perpetrators;

  • Technical assistance to legal service providers on international remedies available for family violence victims whose children have been abducted to another country, or who are fleeing with their children to the United States;

  • Training sessions targeted for staff at family violence shelters; advocates; law enforcement and government officials; and other service providers in the United States and Mexico; sessions cover laws designed to prevent international child abduction as well as remedies available to survivors once an abduction occurs;

  • Recruitment of lawyers in Mexico willing to work on behalf of low-income Texas survivors of family violence in need of representation in Mexico;

  • Coordination of services on both sides of the border to effectuate the return of abducted children to the safety and security of their homes.

Pamela Brown, Director

Domestic Violence/Family Law

The Domestic Violence and Family Law Team provides civil legal assistance in divorce and custody cases and helps victims of family violence and sexual assault obtain protective orders. Attorneys on this team represent clients in most types of family law litigation.

Team Managers
Jacquelyn Davis

Rebecca Flanigan
Monica Guerra
Lena Levario
Veronica Medina
Amber VanSchuyver

Family Law Advanced Practice

The Family Law Advanced Practice Team brings together the resources and expertise of members of our family law team to represent parties in jury trials, complex cases, and appeals.

Amanda Chisholm, Team Manager


TRLA social workers, who work with family law attorneys, provide clients with a number of services, including safety planning, crisis intervention, suicide assessments, assessments of whether clients face lethal threats, and overall emotional support. Social workers assist victims with applications to the Texas Crime Victims' Compensation fund and follow up to ensure that they obtain the benefits they deserve. Social workers accompany clients in court appearances, and provide them with referrals and links to community services such as shelters.

Working closely with staff attorneys to achieve successful outcomes for victims, social workers interview clients to gain extensive histories that provide lawyers with vital insight. They also play instrumental roles in their communities by participating in task force committees, making presentations, networking with other social workers and advocates, and helping with community events such as the annual Crime Victims Rights' week and Angel Tree.

Terry Secrest, Team Manager