A domestic relations action pertains to any matter brought before the family court, including petitions for separate maintenance, otherwise referred to as legal separation in Georgia. Once an action is initiated within the court, there are certain rules and procedures which must be followed before the case can be resolved.
Standing Orders in Domestic Relations Cases
In any domestic relations case filed in the Family Division of the Superior Court of Fulton County, there is an automatic domestic standing order that applies. Similar orders exist in other jurisdictions which regulate the conduct of the parties involved, although in other jurisdictions a standing order must be requested by either of the parties. These orders apply until a subsequent order, either temporary or final, is issued. They:
- prohibit each party from attempting to harass, threaten, intimidate, or otherwise harm the other party involved, or their family members;
- prohibit either party from shutting off the utilities in a marital residence;
- Prohibit dropping or changing automobile, health, life, and other types of insurance coverage;
- prevent either party from giving away, selling, or otherwise disposing of any marital property or items belonging to the other party, subject to some exceptions;
- prohibit the parties involved in domestic relations cases pertaining to child custody (other than hearings for contempt or modification of a prior order) from removing the child or children from the state, other than for vacations or excursions shorter than 14 days;
- require parties in cases involving children to attend the "Families in Transition" Seminar.
Failure to comply with any of the above could result in contempt of court charges and the imposition of fines and penalties.