- About Us
- Family Law Services
Family violence is defined as the commission of any felony or the commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint or criminal trespass.
Georgia has a law protecting victims of family violence. The parties do not have to be married in order for a victim to ask the court for relief. However, the parties have to reside in the same household. The following groups may be provided relief from family violence:
The only nonprotected groups are those who are dating or have dated, but have never lived together. However, the criminal statutes and a normal restraining order may be used.
The victim must file a petition seeking protection from further acts of family violence in the superior court. The petition will verify that the victim alleges that one or more acts of family violence has occurred in the past and are likely to occur in the future. If the victim is a minor, an adult must file the petition on his or her behalf. The petition is filed in the county in which the respondent resides. If the respondent lives out of state, then the petition is filed in the county where the incident occurred.
The petitioner appears before the presiding judge, ex parte (without the other party present), and testifies as to what violence occurred. This appearance should follow closely to the act or threat of violence. The judge has the authority to enter an order providing any or all of the following relief:
After the judge signs the order, the clerk of court schedules a date for the next hearing. The hearing should be within 10 days, but not longer than 30 days.
This is the respondent's opportunity to dispute the claims against him or her. At this hearing, the nature and history of the violence is presented by the victim, as well as any financial information as required by the courts when child support and/or alimony is an issue.
After the order is signed, the petitioner should receive a certified copy. The sheriff's office keeps a copy on file. This order is valid for six months throughout the entire state and United States. Upon a request from the petitioner and a hearing, the court can review the case and extend the length of the protective order.
Civil: The petitioner can file a contempt petition against the respondent, alleging the provision of the order that has been violated and the act that violates this provision. Criminal: If the respondent is in violation of the order, then he or she can be charged with the appropriate local and state charge.