In order to stop the cycle of domestic violence and to provide care and support for victims of domestic assault and abuse, it is generally necessary to get a temporary protective order (TPO) issued by the court. While restraining orders issued in divorce proceedings may seem to serve the same purpose, a TPO issued under the Family Violence Act affords greater protections, and provides great legal grounds for enforcement.
Process of Obtaining a TPO
Under guidelines in the Georgia Domestic Violence Benchbook , a TPO may be granted on an emergency ex parte basis at the same time your petition asserting spousal abuse, intimate partner violence, or abuse of children or other household members is filed. The court will issue the TPO, based on evidence in the case, if it is determined that domestic violence did occur or is likely to occur in the future. Grounds for obtaining a TPO include:
- Domestic assault or battery;
- Stalking and harassment;
- Threats and intimidation;
- Criminal damage to personal property;
- Unlawful restraint;
- Criminal trespass.
Reasons to Obtain a TPO
Under Section 19-13-4 of the Georgia Code , the following are all valid reasons to obtain a TPO in cases involving domestic violence:
- To order the abuser to refrain from certain acts, such as coming to the home or contacting the victim;
- To grant possession of the residence and household belongings, or to require the abuser to provide suitable housing for victims of domestic violence;
- To award alimony, temporary custody, and support for minor children;
- To order the abuser to pay attorney fees and costs incurred by the victim.
- To restrict the abuser’s right to own firearms.