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Know the Laws: Georgia

UPDATED September 29, 2016

Family Violence Protective Orders

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A family violence protective order is a civil order that provides protection if a family or household member is hurting you or threatens to hurt you.

Who can get a family violence protective order

back to topAm I eligible to get a family violence protective order?

You may be eligible to file for a family violence protective order if you and/or your minor child have experienced an act of family violence by:

  • Your spouse or ex-spouse;
  • Your parent, step-parent, or foster parent;
  • Your child, step-child, or foster child;
  • Any person who lives or has lived in the same household with you; or
  • Someone you have a child in common with.*
Note: A minor cannot file his/her own petition. If you are under 18 years old, you may have to get a parent/guardian to file on your behalf.**

If someone other than a family or household member is hurting you, you may be eligible for a stalking protective order.  See What can I do if I'm not eligible for a family violence protective order? for more information.

* O.C.G.A. § 19-13-1
** See O.C.G.A. § 19-13-3(a)

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back to topCan I get a family violence protective order against a same-sex partner?

In Georgia, you may apply for a family violence protective order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible to get a family violence protective order?  You must also be the victim of an act of family violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition in Georgia of family violence?

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back to topHow much does it cost? Do I need a lawyer?

There is no cost to file for a family violence protective order.*

While you do not need a lawyer to file for a family violence protective order, it may be better to have one, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.  Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer who is knowledgeable about protective orders to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

In addition, the domestic violence organizations in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms.  While the court staff can give you the necessary forms for filing a petition, they are not required to help you complete the forms, present your case to the judge, or give legal advice.*  To find help, please go to GA Where to Find Help.  You will find contact information for courthouses on the GA Courthouse Locations page.

* O.C.G.A. § 19-13-3(d)

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back to topWhat can I do if I'm not eligible for a family violence protective order?

If someone other than a family or household member is hurting you, there may be different laws designed to protect you.  If anyone has stalked you, you may be eligible for a stalking protective order.  See our Stalking Protective Orders page for more information.  Also, certain abusive actions can be considered crimes and the abuser can be arrested and prosecuted in criminal court.  To read the legal definitions of some common crimes in Georgia, you can go to our Crimes page.

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