It's not always possible to part on friendly terms with your spouse. The whole process can affect both of you emotionally. Financial loss can also cause a lot of stress to both parties and you can expect your spouse to hold grudges against you for this and many other reasons.
Your spouse can also get extremely vindictive and may want to take their anger out on you. They can leave threatening messages and voicemails on your phone or even try to hurt you physically. Luckily, in such cases, you can turn to the law for help. There is absolutely no need to put up with any of this when you have the right institution to protect you.
What You Need to Do to Apply for an Protective Order
If your former spouse is causing harm to you, threatening to hurt you, or stalking you, you can get a Temporary Protective Order against them. To obtain a TPO, you need to go to the Superior Court in the country where your abuser lives and file a petition. Provide specific details of family violence so that your claims can be taken seriously by the court of law.
Within 30 days of filing a petition, the Court will arrange a hearing where both parties must be present. This is where the alleged victim and the defendant need to provide evidence to support their claims.
The victim must bring all the evidence they have including pictures of bruises, audio or video recordings, pictures of damage property, etc. to the hearing.
How Does a TPO Work?
According to Georgia law, a TPO stays in effect for up to twelve months, and may be converted to a permanent order based upon evidence. Protective orders are issued by a judge and they require an abuser to refrain from getting in direct or indirect contact with their present or former spouse, from harassing or threatening them, or causing harm to them.
In Georgia, ‘family violence' can occur between former or current spouses, parents and their children, foster parents and their children, stepparents and their stepchildren, unmarried parents of the same child, people that are currently living or used to live in the same household.
It can include these acts of violence:
- Criminal trespass
- Unlawful restraint
- Criminal damage to property
Violation of Protective Order
If an individual violates a protective order issued against them, they may have to serve some time in jail. If your former spouse continues to get in contact with you or harass you, you need to report them to the police right away so the appropriate legal action can be taken against them. Oftentimes a violation of a protective order will result in them being charged with aggravated stalking, which is a non-bailable offense in Georgia. This means that once arrested, they will not be eligible for bail until they appear before a Superior Court Judge.
Seek the support of your family and friends during this difficult time. Don't overlook your spouse's misconduct as it can aggravate in the future. Getting an injunction can be just what you need to keep yourself and your children safe.
If you believe that obtaining a protective order may be necessary in your divorce or child custody case, contact us at (404) 963-9452 to schedule an appointment to discuss how we may be able to help keep you safe.