Should I Get a Protective Order During Divorce?

Divorce could be an especially triggering event for family violence. Domestic abuse, known as family violence in Georgia, is any kind of abuse inflicted by one partner on the other in an intimate relationship or marriage. Hitting, shoving, sexual assault, pushing, and other kinds of physical attacks are considered family violence. Any felony, or select misdemeanors, qualify for family violence, including criminal damage to property and threats of violence.

In divorce cases that involve family violence, one way to ensure the abused spouse’s (and children, if any) safety throughout the entire divorce process or beyond is through a protective order.

What Does a Protective Order Do?

If you’re being emotionally and/or physically abused, harassed, stalked, threatened, or subject to other forms of abuse, a protective order could help keep your spouse away from you. It will order your spouse to avoid any kind of contact with you, your kids, and/or other household members or relatives. These provisions usually extend to other places, including your house, your vehicle, workplace, and your child’s school or daycare facility.

In the event that your abuser violates the protective order, you have the right to ask for help from police officers to enforce it. Depending on the circumstances of the violation, the police might arrest your spouse, and the court might also impose criminal punishments, like prison time or hold your spouse in contempt for violating the order. However, it’s extremely vital to note that a protective order can’t ensure that your spouse will leave you alone, so make sure to have a safety plan in place.

How Do I Get a Protective Order?

The court could grant you a temporary ex parte protective order without a hearing and without your spouse’s knowledge. You just need to file a petition with the appropriate court. Your petition must include specific details of past and present incidents of family violence so that the judge can consider those events when deciding whether to grant you a protective order. The judge may grant the order if they believe that you and/or your kids are in immediate danger.

A temporary ex parte protective order usually lasts until the court hearing or up to 30 days. It can also be extended if both parties agree to an extension, or if your spouse is avoiding being served with the ex parte order. The temporary protective order is only issued after a hearing in which both parties would have the chance to discuss their sides of the story with the judge. This order, if granted, goes into effect after the hearing and can last up to 12 months but could be extended by requesting a permanent order from the court.

Consult with an Experienced Alpharetta Divorce Lawyer Today

For any questions about filing a protective order, the divorce process, or advice on keeping yourself protected against your spouse/abuser during a divorce, please do not hesitate to reach out to Banks, Stubbs & McFarland, LLP. To set up your appointment with our Alpharetta divorce lawyer, write to us online or call us at 770-887-1209.