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How can one get a family protective order?

Conflicts are never easy. Family conflicts can be particularly difficult. When family disputes escalate to violence, it may be time to take legal action. In the state of Georgia the Family Violence Act protects the abused by providing various remedies for protection.

The Family Violence Act protects certain individuals. It covers all spouses, both past and present. Children, step children, step parents and foster parents are also covered under the statute. Anyone living within the household, regardless of familial relationship is also protected by this statute. Anyone who does not fall under one of the familial exceptions may seek a regular protective order under the Georgia stalking statute.

Once it is determined that an individual meets the qualifications to receive a family violence protective order, an individual can visit the Georgia Superior Court Clerk's website. All required forms can be found online and many can even be completed while on line. The first steps require a petition and an ex parte protective order. Once completed, the petition should be submitted to the court. In some cases a judge may sign an emergency protective order called an ex parte order. A hearing will be scheduled within 10 days or before 30 days. At the hearing both sides will present evidence. If a temporary protective order is signed, it can last for up to 12 months.

Though an individual can represent themselves in this matter, it is advised to seek legal counsel. Domestic violence cases can be very complicated when children, custody and support are involved.

Source: Georgia Legal Aide, "Family Violence Protective Orders," last visited February 23, 2015

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