Image of Scales Family Division Domestic Violence

THE ONE STOP!
**New location until further notice**
160 Pryor Street, S.W.
2nd floor/Courtroom 2Q
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Office Number: 404-613-4579
Fax Number: 404-335-8659


PURPOSE

The One Stop helps people through the process of obtaining a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) for domestic violence or stalking. Before it opened on February 3, 2003, a person seeking a TPO had to navigate through a confusing number of offices in order to complete the process. Now the One Stop is open each weekday to assist petitioners through the entire process of obtaining a TPO. By December 2010, it had served more than 18,000 petitioners.


FREE ASSISTANCE FROM AVLF AND PADV

Domestic Violence Project’s Safe Families Office provides legal representation at no cost to petitioners who are seeking Temporary Protective Orders (TPOs). It assists victims of intimate partner violence and stalking and helps to secure protection for children. The Safe Families Office is run and staffed by the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) and the Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV). The Safe Families Office is located at the Superior Court of Fulton County. You must call the Safe Families Office to see if you qualify for their services, 404-612-4324.

A petitioner can always elect to seek private counsel or proceed without representation or assistance.


TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDERS

What is a Temporary Protective Order (TPO)?

A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) helps to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking. The order will require the abuser to stay a certain distance away from you, your home and your work. The abuser will be prohibited from contacting you in person, by email, by telephone, by mail and through a third party. The court can also order the abuser to stay away from your children if the court feels the abuser poses a risk to your children.

The Family Violence Act, beginning at O.C.G.A. § 19-13-1, is a law to protect people who are abused by present or past spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children or other persons living or formerly living in the same household. It can also be used to get temporary custody, financial support and other assistance for the abused person. If there is no relationship and you do not qualify for a family violence protective order, you may be eligible for a protective order under the Stalking Law, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94.

A Temporary Protective Order is not the same as a Temporary Restraining Order. Please consult with an attorney before coming to the Family Division if you are unclear as to whether you need a Protective Order or a Restraining Order. The Family Division does not accept petitions for Restraining Orders.

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How do I apply for a Temporary Protective Order (TPO)?

A person can apply for a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) at the Superior Court of Fulton County Family Division’s office located at 136 Pryor Street, 8th Floor, Suite C-826, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. The phone number is 404-612-4579. If you are 18 years of age or older and you are the victim of family violence, you can file the petition. If you are under 18 and you are the victim of violence, you must find someone who is 18 years of age or older to file the petition for you.

At the Family Division office, Petitioners are screened to determine whether or not they meet certain criteria to obtain a protective order from domestic violence or stalking. Petitioners are provided the necessary forms to complete their petition. After Petitioners complete their paperwork, they are brought before a Judge for an Ex Parte hearing where the Judge only hears one side. Ex Parte hearings are held daily at certain scheduled times. Please call the Family Division office to obtain the schedule of the Family Division’s daily Ex Parte hearings, 404-612-0505.

The Judge will determine whether or not to grant an emergency protective order based on the information and evidence presented. If the emergency protective order is granted, the Petitioner will have to come back within ten days of the filing of the petition, but no later than 30 days after the filing of the petition for a full hearing to include both parties. A Petitioner can request a full hearing for a protective order although their Ex Parte request for an emergency protective order has been denied.

The Judge at the full hearing will make a determination based on the evidence presented by both parties whether to grant or dismiss the TPO petition. If there is an emergency protective order granted in an Ex Parte hearing, the Judge at the full hearing will make a determination based on the evidence presented by both parties whether to extend the TPO in place or dismiss it.

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How is the Order served?

At the time of completing the petition, the Petitioner must have a valid address for service upon the Respondent. A TPO can only be served in person by a Fulton County Deputy Sheriff. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department will make an attempt to serve the TPO at a place of employment or residence in a timely manner. Multiple attempts will be made to locate the Respondent.

The TPO is NOT IN EFFECT until served upon the Respondent. If problems arise with the Respondent, the Petitioner should immediately call 911 and advise them of the current situation.

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What happens if an address is not available?

All Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) not served upon the Respondent due to lack of a valid address will remain on file at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department for 30 days. Deputies have access to these Orders 24 hours 7 days a week. If a valid address becomes available, the Petitioner is responsible for notifying the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department of the address. The Fulton County Sheriff Department’s phone number is (404) 612-5100.

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What do I do after the TPO has been served?

If an emergency protective order is in place, the temporary restrictions must be followed by the Petitioner and Respondent until appearance in court. Parties need to appear in court on the date listed on the petition and be prepared to participate in a full hearing. The Domestic Violence Court Judge will make a determination whether or not to grant or deny the Petitioner’s request for a TPO based on the evidence presented by both parties. If the Petitioner does not show up for court, the petition for a TPO will most likely be dismissed. If the Respondent does not show up for court, a Default Judgment can be entered against him or her.

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What if the TPO has not been served upon the Respondent prior to the court date?

The Court may reset the case and provide another court date as long as the new court date is scheduled within the 30-day statutory time frame from the filing of the TPO petition. If there is an emergency protective order in place, the Court may continue the emergency protective order until the new court date.







Family Division
Superior Court of Fulton County
**New Location until further notice**
160 Pryor Street, S.W.
2nd floor/Courtroom 2Q
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Office Number: 404-612-0505
Fax Number: 404-335-8659