Domestic violence cases are treated very seriously in Georgia and in some divorce cases we find it necessary to ask the court to issue a Family Law Protective Order. The danger of serious violence is at its highest point when a person acts on a decision to leave an abusive relationship.
This order prohibits the offender from having contact with the victim for a specified period of time. If a person is found to violate a restraining or protective order, he or she could be jailed and charged with a separate crime, including aggravated stalking.
Domestic violence in the simplest terms is abuse by one partner against he other in a marriage or other intimate relationship. All types of physical attack including pushing, shoving, hitting, sexual assault, and other physical violence are all forms of domestic abuse. The law also covers stalking, intimidation, isolating a partner from others, withholding money and all types of emotional abuse as domestic violence.
There are two types of family violence protective orders in Georgia. Temporary ex parte orders are intended to protect you from the abuser until the court schedules and conducts a hearing and family violence protective orders are issued after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story and present evidence to the judge.
You can receive a temporary ex parte order without a court hearing and without the abuser’s prior knowledge. A hearing is mandatory before you can receive a long-term family violence protective order.
Warner Robins divorce attorney Lynn Hamilton Johnson can help you understand the Georgia domestic violence laws and take steps to get protection orders in place when necessary.
An ex parte family violence protective order can:
- Order that the abuser not do or attempt to do any of the following: injure, mistreat, bother, follow, harass, harm, or abuse you or your family or household members;
- Order the abuser not to interfere with your travel, transportation, or communication;
- Order the abuser not to follow, place under surveillance, or contact you for the purpose of harassing and intimidating you;
- Give you possession of the house and force the abuser to leave (you can ask the court to have the sheriff send someone home with you to enforce this part of the order);
- Make the abuser provide decent alternate housing for a spouse, former spouse, parent, or child of the parties;
- Order the abuser to stay a certain number of yards away from you and/or your children, your residence, workplace, children's school, etc. and to have no contact with you, directly or indirectly;
- Award you (or the other party) temporary child support and/or spousal support;
- Give you temporary custody of your children and set temporary visitation rights;
- Order the abuser not to get rid of and pets or property of yours or that you share with the respondent and provide for possession of the personal property of the parties;
- Order the abuser not to disconnect or have disconnected home utilities, change or have changed and/or cancel or have canceled auto, health or life insurance for you, your children or for the respondent and not interfere with your mail or your children's mail;
- Order law enforcement to help you get your personal property if you are not given possession of the home and order the abuser to return certain specified property to you; and/or
- Give you possession of a car.
A final family violence protective order can:
- Order all of the protections listed above;
- Order the abuser to go to counseling to try to prevent future family violence and/or drug or alcohol counseling; and
- Award costs and attorney's fees to either party.
Temporary Protective Orders carry serious consequences. Violating a Protective Order could result in arrest and incarceration. If a Protective Order is granted following a hearing, the Respondent’s name becomes public record in Georgia’s Protective Order Registry and is available for viewing by prospective employers and the community at large.
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on your need for protection and the facts of your case. If you live in fear because of family violence, contact Lynn Hamilton Johnson at 478-922-3889 immediately.