Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Temporary Restraining Order-Family Violence Protective Order

The Georgia legislature has passed a series of laws to assist battered women and men to remove themselves from a cycle of violence.   In practice, however, often these remedies can be used, or misused, to obtain a "leg up" in a divorce or custody case.  Often small misunderstandings and arguments are escalated into "family violence" without either party understanding the significant effects of these legal procedures. 

What can I get in a Family Violence Order?  Georgia law allows the Court, WITHOUT THE INITIAL INPUT OF THE OTHER PARTY, the following relief:

(1) Direct the respondent to refrain from such acts;
(2) Grant to a party possession of the residence or household of the parties and exclude the other party from the residence or household;
(3) Require a party to provide suitable alternate housing for a spouse, former spouse, or parent and the parties' child or children;
(4) Award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights;
(5) Order the eviction of a party from the residence or household and order assistance to the victim in returning to it, or order assistance in retrieving personal property of the victim if the respondent's eviction has not been ordered;
(6) Order either party to make payments for the support of a minor child as required by law;
(7) Order either party to make payments for the support of a spouse as required by law;
(8) Provide for possession of personal property of the parties;
(9) Order the respondent to refrain from harassing or interfering with the victim;
(10) Award costs and attorney's fees to either party; and
(11) Order the respondent to receive appropriate psychiatric or psychological services as a further measure to prevent the recurrence of family violence.

How long does this order last?  Under Georgia law for one (1) year, however, upon motion the Court can extend the order PERMANENTLY.    

What is family violence?   Georgia law defines it as :
(1) Any felony; or
(2) Commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass.

Who is family?  "past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household"

Does this go on my record?  If a restraining order is granted, this order is recorded with a registry available to law enforcement.

If you are subject to family violence, including symbolic acts such as breaking personal property or harassment, you need to protect yourself and your children from these acts from escalating.  After an initial ex-parte order, the Court will set up a hearing where the other party can defend themselves.  BOTH SIDES OF A FAMILY VIOLENCE PROCEEDING SHOULD BE REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL.

Too often a minor incident between a boyfriend and girlfriend will result is a family violence proceeding.   The judge will often ask, do mind staying away from her?   Of course not, that's why we broke up!!!  Don't make this mistake, as your record will permanently show that you are an abuser.  If you are being abused, don't go it alone.   An attorney can address financial and custody issues which often are the root core of the abusive relationship.  If either side appears before the Court without an attorney they are risking their financial and custody rights.

Here are some forms:  Family Violence Forms

Please visit my website at tomtierneylaw.com

Please call if you need legal representation to Thomas F. Tierney at (770) 631-1100 or e-mail at tierneylawyer@yahoo.com  Thomas F. Tierney is an attorney who represents clients in south metro Atlanta, including Fayette County, Coweta County, Peachtree City, Tyrone, Fayetteville, and Newnan Georgia.