It might feel like an extreme measure to file a protective order against a spouse, a significant other, or a family member. But orders of this variety are designed to provide safety and restrict opportunities for abuse. You should consider working with a family law attorney to ensure the proper paperwork is filed and no crucial steps are missed.
Learn more about Georgia’s protective orders and the step-by-step process to get the safety you deserve.
Georgia’s Protective Orders
People may interchange the terms “restraining” and “protective” orders. The state refers to them as protective orders. Two kinds of orders are commonly applied for within Georgia: temporary ex parte and family protective orders.
These orders can provide temporary or indefinite relief for you or anyone in your household whenever there is evidence of a threat against your safety.
Who Can Apply for a Protective Order?
If you or someone in your household is threatened by another family member, a spouse, a significant other, or an ex, you can file a petition for a protective order. Anyone under 18 will need their parent or guardian to file on their behalf.
Breaking Down the Protective Order Process
Understanding the steps to get a protective order can help you ensure the process is as smooth as possible. You’ll need to gather evidence, file your petition, appear in court, and follow any additional steps necessary to complete the protective order process.
Your attorney will ensure you properly file the correct documents, attend any necessary hearings, and answer any of the court’s questions.
Beginning the Process: Collecting Any Required Information or Evidence
Before you go to the Superior Court to file a petition for a restraining order, you must gather some information and evidence to fill out the necessary forms correctly.
- Proof of your identity
- Information about the respondent, the person you’re filing for a protective order against
- Evidence documenting incidents or threats of harm or abuse (including pictures or texts)
- Proof of a relationship with the respondent
- An explanation of why protection is needed
- Any witness information to back your petition
You can work with your attorney to collect this information. They can help gather police reports or witness testimony to support your claim.
Next Step: Complete and File Your Petition
With all the necessary details and information gathered, your attorney can complete your petition and file it. You can collect a copy of the petition from your county’s Superior Court Clerk’s office. You can also use the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority’s site to get the appropriate form. The respective petition matches the protective order you need.
You must file the petition in the county where the respondent resides. If they aren’t living in the state, you can file your petition in your own county of residence.
Discuss with your attorney which form best fits your situation. A family law attorney can help you before, during, and after filing your petition.
After the Petition: Going to Court
It’s possible that you’ll have more than one hearing in court before your protective order is approved.Your first hearing might be for an “ex parte” order, a temporary order. These orders are granted for those in immediate physical danger. Your abuser won’t be present for this initial hearing, but they could be present at the second hearing. If your ex parte order is granted, it goes into effect once the respondent is served a copy. The full hearing will happen within 30 days of your filing.
At the second hearing, you’ll either be granted a long-term protective order or your request will be denied. Your abuser can attend and present their side of the matter. Your attorney can respond with evidence. If your abuser doesn’t attend, the judge may grant you your final protective order without hearing their testimony or they may choose to reschedule the hearing.
Get Help From a Cobb County Family Lawyer
If you’re suffering abuse at the hands of a family member or member of your household, you deserve a sense of peace and security. A protective order can grant that. You can work with The Gentry Law Firm, LLC, to get started. We’ll explain your rights and handle the entirety of the petition process.
We’re a law firm dedicated to the idea of helping people fight for their rights and move forward. Don’t hesitate to call us. Let us help you fight for your safety.