How Do I Obtain a Family Violence Restraining Order?

Acts of family violence are, unfortunately, all too common on a regular basis. When you are already dealing with the difficult, painful issues associated with divorce or separation, having to also address a family violence issue can be near impossible to handle, particularly if it takes place in front of your child.

Georgia state law defines family violence as acts such as any felony, battery, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass, as it occurs between past or present spouses, parents, children, stepparents, stepchildren, foster parents, foster children, or other people living (or who have formerly lived) in the same household. Anyone who is a victim of family violence or is seeking to protect a child from family violence can file a written petition for a restraining order.

Protective Orders

Anyone who is a victim of family violence or is seeking to protect a child from family violence can file a written petition for a restraining order in the superior court. If the defendant resides in the state of Georgia, the petition must be filed in the county of the defendant’s residence. It is within the judge’s discretion to issue a temporary protective order without providing notice to the person against whom the order is sought if there is suspicion that the victim is in danger of immediate violence. This provides the victim(s) with protection until there is a hearing within 10 to 30 days after filing the petition.

A protective order has the ability to:

  • Direct a party to refrain from acts of family violence, as defined above;
  • Grant a spouse possession of the residence or household and exclude the other spouse from the residence or household;
  • Require a party to provide suitable alternate housing for a spouse and children;
  • Award temporary custody of children and establish temporary visitation rights;
  • Order the eviction of a party from the residence or household and order assistance to the victim in returning to it and/or retrieving personal property if eviction has not been ordered;
  • Order child support payments;
  • Order spousal support payments;
  • Provide for possession of personal property;
  • Order a party to refrain from harassing or interfering with the other;
  • Award costs and attorney’s fees to either party; and
  • Order either or all parties to receive appropriate preventative psychiatric or psychological services. A permanent order can be issued after the court hearing and can last up to one year (or three, with an extension).
There’s Help…

If you or someone you know is involved in a family violence issue, call our office to find out how we can help. The attorneys at Edwards & Associates can help protect your legal rights and provide you with guidance through this difficult time.