Domestic Violence Protective Orders in Georgia: Understanding TPOs

Domestic violence is a sensitive topic that requires a prompt response from the legal system to ensure the safety of victims. In Georgia, the law provides for a temporary protective order (TPO) to protect individuals who have experienced domestic violence from their abusers.

We will discuss what a TPO is, who can apply for it, how to obtain one, and what happens after it is granted.

If you need help navigating Georgia law regarding domestic violence and other matters, contact an Atlanta family law attorney today.

What is a TPO?

A temporary protective order (TPO) is a court order issued to protect individuals who have experienced domestic violence from their abusers. This type of order, sometimes called a “family violence restraining order,” is designed to prevent contact between the victim and the abuser. It can also require the abuser to move out of the home they share with the victim.

A TPO is granted for a limited time, usually up to 12 months, to allow the victim time to pursue other legal remedies.

Who Can Apply for a TPO in Georgia?

In Georgia, any family or household member, including spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, and anyone else who has lived together, can apply for a TPO.

Additionally, individuals who have been dating or have had a romantic relationship can also apply for a TPO. To be eligible for this type of court order, the victim must demonstrate that they have experienced domestic violence, including physical violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and harassment.

How Do You Obtain a TPO in Georgia?

The process of obtaining a TPO in Georgia is straightforward. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can go to the Superior Court Clerk’s Office and file a petition for a TPO. This petition should include the details of the abuse you have experienced, including any physical injuries, threats, or stalking behavior.

Once the petition is filed, the court will review it and may issue an ex parte order, which means the order is issued without the abuser’s presence or knowledge.

After the ex parte order is granted, the abuser will be served with a copy of the order, and a hearing will be scheduled within 30 days. At the hearing, the accused individual will have the opportunity to tell their side of the story and ask the court to dismiss the protective order if they or believe it was unwarranted. The victim will also have a chance to testify and ask the court to extend the TPO for up to 12 months.

What Happens After a TPO is Granted?

If the court grants the TPO, the abuser must stay away from the victim and their children and may be ordered to move out of the home they share with the victim. The TPO can also prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim in any way, including in person, over the phone, or through social media.
Violating a TPO is considered contempt in family law cases, so criminal charges and penalties may result, including fines and imprisonment.

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, it is essential to take immediate action to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Applying for a TPO is an effective way to prevent further abuse and create a safer environment. However, it is crucial to remember that the legal process can be complex and intimidating, and seeking the advice of an experienced attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact us today at Edwards Family Law, and we’ll ensure your family law matter is handled quickly and effectively.

Author Bio

Regina Edwards is the Owner and Managing Attorney of Edwards Family Law, an Atlanta family law and estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With more than 21 years of experience practicing law, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, legitimation, wills, trusts, probate, and Medicaid planning.

Regina received her Juris Doctor from the Tulane School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for six years, as well as being named among the Pro Bono All Stars by the Georgia Bar Journal in 2019.

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