As we discussed in a previous article, Georgia law offers two types of Family Violence Protective Orders. These are:

  • Temporary Ex Parte Orders (TRO); and
  • Family Violence Protection Orders

In this article we will highlight the elements of a Family Violence Protection Order and how to have this type of order granted by the court.

In general, if a family or household member hurts you or attempts to hurt you, with or without the use of a weapon, or even gives you reason to believe that he or she is going to hurt you in the near future, this person has committed an act of family violence. If this has happened to you, you should file for a family violence protection order in the superior court where the abuser lives, if that person lives in Georgia. If the abuser does not live in Georgia, you can the file a petition in the superior court in the county in which you live or where the abuse occurred.

After filing a verified petition, a hearing will be held in which you and the abuser both have the option to advocate for or against the order.  The court may grant any protective order or approve any consent agreement to bring about an end to acts of family violence. The orders may direct the following:

  • Direct the respondent to refrain from acts state in the order;
  • Grant to a party possession of the residence or household of the parties and exclude the other party from the residence or household;
  • Award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights;
  • Provide possession of personal property of the parties;
  • Award costs and attorney’s fees to either party; and
  • Order the respondent to receive appropriate psychiatric or psychological services as a further measure to prevent the recurrence of family violence.

These are simply a list and therefore may include additional options depending on the specifics of your case.

Once the order is granted, a copy will be issued by the clerk of the superior court to the sheriff of the county in which the order was entered. The order will then be retained by the sheriff as long as that order states it should remain in effect. An order may remain in effect up to one year. If the court convert a Temporary Ex Parte Order into a Protection Order or more permanent order, it may be effective for not more than three years.

Next, orders made under this section will apply and be effective throughout Georgia.  It is therefore the duty of every superior court and of every sheriff, every deputy sheriff, and every state, county, or municipal law enforcement officer within Georgia to enforce and carry out the terms of any valid protective order issued by any Court under these provisions.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Family Violence Protection Order, please contact the attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Our team will work with you to discuss what options are best for your specific situation and develop a plan accordingly.