Seeking a family violence protective order to safeguard yourself and your family from those who wish you any harm could be daunting and frightening. But it is something that you must do, as soon as possible, to ensure your family’s safety. Here’s what you need to know about family violence protective orders in Georgia.
Understanding Protective Orders in Georgia
A temporary protective order is issued for protecting you and/or other family or household members against an abuser (another family member or household member) until a hearing about the reason for obtaining a protective order can be held in court. But a judge will only issue a temporary protective order if they believe that you’re in immediate danger. A temporary protective order usually lasts for 30 days (but could be extended) or until the hearing.
A family violence protective order could be issued following a hearing in which both parties would have their chance to tell their sides of the family violence incident and provide proof to support their claims. It could last up to a year, but could also be extended for three years or more, making it a permanent protective order.
Protections Provided by Protective Orders
A temporary family violence protection order offers the following protections under the law:
- Prohibit the abuser from following you, putting you under surveillance, or contacting you to intimidate or harass you
- Prevent the abuser from doing or attempting to abuse, injure, follow, mistreat, harass, bother, or harm you
- Prohibit the abuser from interfering with your communication, transportation, or travel
- Order the abuser to keep their distance (within a specific number of yards) from those protected under the order, your house, children’s school, and workplace, among others, and prevent them from contacting you indirectly or directly
- Order the abuser to provide proper alternate housing arrangements for those protected by the order and/or give the abused possession of the home and make the abuser leave the premises (you can request assistance from the court by having law enforcement help you remove the abuser from your home)
- Award you temporary child support and make the abuser pay temporary spousal support or alimony
- Award you temporary child custody and enable you to set temporary child visitation arrangements
- Prohibit the abuser from disconnecting or canceling home utilities and canceling the auto, life, or health insurance plans for you and other dependents
- Prevent the abuser from interfering with your mail
- Order law enforcement officers to help you obtain all your personal property from the house (if you were not given possession of the house) and ensure that the abuser returns your personal property
Besides providing the protections listed above, a final or permanent family violence protective order could likewise:
- Award lawyer’s fees and related case costs to either party
- Order that the abuser attend counseling (including alcohol and/or drug counseling, if applicable) to help prevent future incidents of family violence
Get Legal Help from an Experienced Georgia Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you and/or your other family members don’t feel safe with someone in your home, please do not hesitate to seek legal advice from the experienced Georgia domestic violence lawyers at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland. To arrange a consultation, contact us online or call 770-887-1209.