Steps For Obtaining A Dating Violence Protective Order In Georgia
Being involved in a relationship, or ending a relationship, with a person who has engaged in acts of violence against you or your children can be extremely distressing. Dating violence can lead you to worry about your own safety, as well as the safety of your children, your other friends, family members, your co-workers, your place of employment and your job. When dating violence occurs, you may be able to seek a temporary protective order, which is a court order designed to prevent the other party from engaging in any acts of dating violence. The following are steps for obtaining a temporary protective order in Georgia following one or more acts of dating violence. Of note, the dating violence protection is new – as it just became effective in March of 2022.
- Understand How the Law Defines Dating Violence
Tot seek a temporary protective order, you will need to show that dating violence has occurred, and as such, you will need to understand how the law defines dating violence. Under Georgia law, dating violence is defined as “the occurrence of . . . any felony, or commission of the offenses of simple battery, battery, simple assault, or stalking . . . between persons through whom a current pregnancy has developed or persons currently, or within the last six months were, in a dating relationship.”
The law defines a dating relationship as “a committed romantic relationship characterized by a level of intimacy that is not associated with mere friendship or between persons in an ordinary business, social, or educational context.” Be prepared to show proof of your dating relationship to the Judge in case the validity of the relationship is called into question. Proof may be photographs, text messages (or other communications), social media, phone records, etc.
- Complete the Petition for a Dating Violence Temporary Protective Order
You will need to complete the petition for a temporary protective order, which requires you to provide information about your residency status and the status of the respondent (i.e., the person against whom you are seeking the protective order), information that clarifies that you are or were in a dating relationship, and detailed information about the acts of dating violence that you are alleging occurred. Beyond the act or acts for which you are seeking the protective order, the form also provides a space to explain other acts of violence committed by the respondent, and to clarify what you are asking the court to do in the protective order. It is important to seek the temporary protective order in the correct county.
In completing a protective order petition, you can request the court to order various protections, such as:
- Respondent must stay away from your residence, place of work, or school;
- Respondent must return keys to your home;
- Respondent must not dispose of any of your property;
- Respondent must undergo a psychiatric evaluation; or
- Respondent must undergo a drug or alcohol abuse evaluation.
The court then considers the risks to you as well as how likely it is for the alleged offender to commit the alleged acts again. The court considers this information without any input from the alleged assailant. The court weighs the information and determines whether it can then grant the temporary protective order. If granted, the Court require the parties to appear for a subsequent hearing to determine whether a dating violence protective order should be continued.
- Appear in Court for the Protective Order Hearing
For the temporary protective order to be converted to a longer protective order, a hearing must be held to give you and the alleged offender and opportunity to explain the situation to the Court. It is best to attend this hearing with your Atlanta domestic violence attorney who can prepare you for what to expect and how to testify.
Contact Our Dating Violence Lawyers in Atlanta
Our Atlanta domestic violence attorneys can help you to seek a protective order. Contact Kaye, Lembeck, Hitt & French to learn more about how we can assist you.