Temporary Protective Orders

Protective CustodyWhat are Temporary Protective Orders?

In Georgia, Temporary Protective Orders, or Restraining Orders, are called Family Violence Protection Orders. In Georgia, there are two types of family violence protective orders: (1) a Temporary Ex Parte Order and (2) a Permanent Protective Order.

A temporary ex parte order is designed to protect you from the abuser until the court holds a hearing. A hearing is mandatory before you can receive a long-term family violence protective order. You can receive a temporary ex parte order without a court hearing and without the abuser’s prior knowledge. In order to receive a temporary ex parte order, you must file a petition with the court. After you file your petition, a judge may grant a temporary order only if the judge believes that you are in immediate danger. Temporary ex parte orders last up to 30 days, or until your court hearing if it is being heard in another county in the same circuit. The temporary ex parte orders can be extended beyond 30 days upon agreement by both parties.

A permanent family violence protective order can be 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. Family violence protective orders last up to one year, but can be extended for up to three years (a “permanent” order)

What Protections Can I Get in a Family Violence Protection Order?

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;
  • 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 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 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.

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