What is the legal definition of dating violence?
What types of dating violence protective orders are there? How long do they last?
There are two types of dating violence protective orders: temporary ex parte dating protective orders, and dating protective orders that last one year, three years, or permanently.
If the judge believes that you provided specific facts in your petition that give him/her good reason to believe that an act of dating violence has occurred or is likely to occur, the judge can grant you a temporary ex parte dating protective order. The ex parte dating violence protective order will remain in effect until the judge dismisses the order or a hearing for a twelve- month dating violence protective order takes place.1
The court will schedule a hearing for a dating violence protective order within ten days of when you file your petition. If the hearing cannot be scheduled within ten days, it must be scheduled as soon as possible and no more than 30 days after you file your petition. The order can be issued only after the abuser has an opportunity to attend a court hearing in which you both have a chance to present evidence, witnesses, testimony, etc. Dating violence protective orders last up to one year, but you can file a motion to ask the judge to turn your temporary order into an order that lasts for up to three years or a permanent order, with no expiration date.2
1 Ga. Code § 19-13A-3(a)
2 Ga. Code §§ 19-13A-3(b); 19-13A-4(d)
What protections can I get in a dating violence protective order?
In an ex parte temporary order or a dating violence protective order, the judge can do any or all of the following:
- order that the abuser:
- not commit acts of dating violence against you;
- not harass you or interfere with you; and
- receive psychiatric, psychological, or educational services to prevent future acts of dating violence;
- give you and the abuser possession of each of your personal property; and
- award costs and attorney’s fees to either you or the abuser.1
1 Ga. Code § 19-13A-4(b)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.