At Eittreim Martin Cutler Family Law, we understand that filing for a restraining order can be an emotionally complex process. Our team is experienced in handling restraining orders and can help walk you through the steps. Here’s what you should know before beginning the filing process.
Types of Restraining Orders
Before pursuing a restraining order, it is essential to know about the different types of orders available. There are two types of protective orders that you can file for and last for different periods of time:
Ex Parte Order
In this temporary protection, the abused party is granted a temporary restraining order until the hearing is scheduled and completed. This is mandatory before a long-term family protective order can be approved.
Family Violence Protective Order
This order is granted following a court hearing. It initially lasts one year but can be extended up to three years.
Under Georgia law, family violence includes committing one or more of these crimes against a family or household member:
- Any felony
- Criminal damage to property
- Criminal trespassing
- Unlawful restraint
Victims of stalking and workplace violence can also file a stalking protective order or employer protective order.
Necessary Forms and Evidence
The first step to filing a restraining order is to gather the necessary forms and evidence. The order can be filed in the superior court in the county where the abuser lives. If the abuser does not live in Georgia, you can visit the superior court where you live or where the abuse occurred. The clerk should be able to tell you about your next steps and the evidence you will need.
Here are some documents and evidence you might need:
- Identification (driver’s license or picture ID)
- Petition for a temporary protective order
- Child support worksheets
- Financial affidavits
- Explanation for why you need protection
- Witnesses who can support your claims in your testimony
Your legal representative can help you determine the necessary documents for your case. There is no cost to file a petition for a protective order.
Service of Process
Next up is the service of process. After the judge grants a temporary restraining order, you may have to visit the clerk’s or sheriff’s office in your county to file it, depending on where you live. You may need to provide the abuser’s information, such as their full name, address, workplace, and Social Security number, so they can be served the papers.
The hearing follows the service of process. The court date for your hearing will likely take place within 30 days following your temporary ex parte order. This hearing will determine whether a family violence protective order will be issued. You and the abuser will give evidence and testimony before a judge.
If you do not attend the hearing, your temporary family violence protective order will expire, and you will have to begin the process again.
In the event of family violence, it is crucial to establish your and your loved ones’ immediate safety. Call the authorities if there is a threat or occurrence of violence.