In Georgia, there are two types of Family Violence Protection Orders:
- Temporary Ex Parte Orders
- Family Violence Protection Orders
A Temporary Ex Parte Order is designed to protect you until the court hearing you must have for a Family Violence Protection Order. You can receive a temporary order without a court hearing, and without your abuser’s knowledge. ("Ex parte" means without your abuser present).
A judge will grant the temporary order only if she or he believes that you are in immediate danger. Temporary orders last up to 30 days, or until your court hearing if it is being heard in another county in the same circuit. They can be extended beyond 30 days by agreement with both parties. This is called a consent order.
A Family Violence Protection Order can be issued after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story. Family Violence Protection Orders last up to one year, but can be extended for up to three years, or permanently.
In general, if a family or household member hurts you or tries to hurt you (with or without using a weapon) or gives you reason to believe that they are going to hurt you in the near future, that person has committed an act of family violence. For the purposes of getting a protective order, you must have a specific relationship with your abuser.
This type of behavior is illegal, and there are laws to protect you.
"Family violence" includes:
- Hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping
- Criminal damage to property
- Restraint against your will
- Criminal trespass
- Unwanted touching, forcing you to take part in sexual acts against your will
- Threats of violence
- Other felonies
Family violence does not include "reasonable discipline" by a parent to a child in corporal punishment, restraint or detention.
The legal system is divided into two areas: civil law and criminal law. Superior courts and State courts usually administrate these two areas of the law in different court sessions.
Civil law covers disputes between two people. In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking the court to protect you from the person abusing you. You are not asking the court to punish that person for committing a crime. The protective orders discussed on this page are handled in civil court.
The criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, murder, theft, etc. A criminal complaint involves charging your abuser with a crime. If criminal charges are filed, the case will be in the hands of the prosecutor.
You may want to pursue both civil and criminal action against your abuser.
For many people going through a divorce their biggest asset is their home or in legal speak, the marital residence. Deciding what to do about the marital residence is often a major issue in a divorce. There are a few different options when it comes to splitting the marital residence.
One option is for one spouse to keep the house and buy out the other spouse’s share. Another option is for one spouse to be granted exclusive use for a specified period of time, usually when the youngest child turns 18, after which the house will be sold. Finally, the house can be sold outright with the profits being allocated to each spouse.
Should you sell your house? Hard as it may be this is a decision that needs to be made devoid of emotions. As a practical matter take into consideration whether or not it is financially beneficial to keep the home. If not and you do decide to sell here are a few tips to help you through the process.
Time is money: Put your home on the market as far in advance as possible of purchasing a new one. Remember that when people buy and sell a home there usually is a domino effect. Closing and moving dates have to be coordinated, and the more firmly everyone commits to a window of dates and sticks to them, the better for all involved. Put all agreements about dates in writing, and protect yourself by negotiating financial penalties for failure to live up to the agreement.
Is a father who never married the mother still required to pay child support?
The short answer to this question is yes. When a mother is not married, however, there can sometimes be confusion about who the child’s legal father is for purposes of support. An "acknowledged father" is any biological father of a child born to unmarried parents for whom paternity has been established by either the admission of the father or the agreement of the parents. Acknowledged fathers are required to pay child support. Additionally, a man who never married the child’s mother may be presumed to be the father if he welcomes the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his own.