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What is a Protective Order in Georgia?

Temporary Protective Order

Commonly called a restraining order, a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) is an order implemented to safeguard victims of family or dating violence from individuals who are abusing, harassing, or stalking them. Shortly after a TPO is filed, contact between the party seeking the order and alleged abuser is prohibited.


Georgia courts consider protective orders emergency situations and thus move quickly. The victim will file a petition for a protective order in the Superior Court of the county where he/she resides.

In the petition, the victim will allege specific acts of domestic violence, which will be promptly reviewed by a judge. Because this is considered an emergency situation, the judge will likely enter an immediate ex parte protective order to protect the victim from further acts of violence.

Once the ex parte order is entered, a court date will be scheduled and the accused will be served. The court will schedule a formal hearing within 30 days of the petition being filed.

At the hearing, each party will have the opportunity to present evidence on the alleged incident(s) and the petitioner/victim must prove his or her allegations by a preponderance of evidence. After hearing the evidence, the judge will either remove the ex parte order or extend it for up to 3 years.

What Else Can Be Included in a TPO?

In addition to prohibiting contact between the victim and abuser, a TPO can also grant the victim other forms of relief:

  • exclusive possession of the residence;
  • require the abuser to provide a spouse and children suitable alternative housing;
  • temporary custody of minor children or temporary visitation rights;
  • eviction of the abuser from the residence;
  • victim assistance in retrieving possessions from the residence;
  • child support payments for the support of minor children;
  • spousal support payments;
  • cease harassment or interference with the victim;
  • costs and attorney's fees to either party; and
  • order abuser to receive psychiatric or psychological services.

M&T now offers flat fees on TPO cases. Contact us if you would like more information regarding your case.

Written by: Rebekah Ann James


Domestic Violence
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