Domestic Violence is all too real and often takes place behind closed doors when no one is looking. You can protect yourself and your family by filing an Ex Parte TPO in Superior Court that will be served on the perpetrator within 24-hours of obtaining the TPO. The Court will then schedule a hearing when each party will appear and have an opportunity to present evidence. To increase the likelihood of obtaining a permanent TPO, you should obtain certified copies of any police reports and bring them to court with you along with all photographs, emails, text messages and any other evidence that supports your claims. If you have any witnesses to any domestic violence by the perpetrator, be sure to bring that witnesses with you to court. Of course, if you can afford to obtain counsel, you should hire an attorney experienced in handling TPOs in Georgia.
Courts tends to be suspicious of anyone who files a TPO during a divorce proceeding and will look for concrete evidence that a TPO is needed to protect you and/or your children from harm. The more organized and concise you are at the hearing, the better. Give the Judge a clear and accurate time line of events without a lot of drama and emotion. Make sure your witness is prepared to talk about domestic violence, stalking, and harassing behaviors and has specific examples and personal knowledge of what he/she wants to testify to.
If the Court believes you need a TPO, you will be issued a 12 month Temporary Protective Order and you should carry that with you at all times. If the Order is ever violated, you have to have a copy at your fingertips when you call the police to report the violation. TPOs are registered on the criminal docket int he county in which they are issued and can have serious consequences to someone's employment and security clearances.
At the end of the day, a TPO is still just a piece of paper. It's up to you to exercise caution and avoid being anyplace where you believe the perpetrator may find you. If you need advice on this or any other family law issue, feel free to reach out to our attorneys at The Cherry Law Firm, PC.