Understanding Family Violence Protective Orders in Georgia

In Georgia, the term family violence is generally used when a family member or someone living in your household harms you, attempts to harm you, or gives you reasonable reason to believe he or she will harm you in the future (O.C.G.A. § 19-13-1). This may include battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, criminal trespass, or any felony, but it does not include reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child.

When faced with family violence, the victim is able to file a petition with the court, seeking relief from the alleged abuser (O.C.G.A. § 19-13-3). If the court believes the accuser is in immediate danger, a temporary ex parte order will be granted.

What Is a Temporary Ex Parte Order?

A temporary ex parte order is designed to protect the victim or victims while awaiting an official hearing. The temporary order remains in effect for up to 30-days or until the hearing has taken place.

An ex parte family violence protective order outlines activities that are prohibited for the alleged abuser, including injuring, mistreating, bothering, following, harassing, harming, or abusing the accuser or accusers. Additionally, it may cover a wide range of other topics, such as ordering the abuser to leave the shared home, ordering the abuser to stay a certain number of yards away from the accuser and/or applicable children, and may instruct the parties to refrain from disposing, selling, or otherwise damaging shared property or pets.

What Is a Final Family Violence Protective Order?

Once a temporary ex parte order is granted, both parties will be required to attend a court hearing. During this time, both the accuser and the alleged abuser will have the opportunity to communicate their sides of the story and present evidence. The court will make a judgment as to whether a long-term family violence protective order is appropriate.

In addition to the terms that may be included in the ex parte family violence protective order, a final family violence protective order may also include provisions for court-mandated counseling and awards for attorney and other legal fees.

Get the Professional Guidance You Need

Whether you are petitioning for a family violence protective order or having one brought against you, it’s essential to get legal guidance you can trust.

At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.