If you are the victim of harassment or abuse by an individual the State of Georgia provides for protective orders. There are two types of protective orders, a family violence protective order and a stalking protective order. Many times during the stress and emotions of a divorce one or both parties will turn to the court for relief for protection because of violence or intimidating behavior. The domestic family protective order is a very powerful tool for those that feel threatened by their significant other. Because of the serious nature of this accusation the court is given great discretion in the granting of an initial ex parte order and extending this order for twelve months and permanency if necessary. Not only will this order of restraint force one or both individuals to remain away from the other person and their family but the court can order the use of a vehicle, support for the maintenance of the home, support for the children and the person paying support may be forced to vacate the home. If a person has an order placed against them they will also be placed on a state registry showing that they have a restraining order placed against them. This is a very serious matter and is both necessary and misused often in our system.
If a person is truly suffering from fear, intimidation, harassment, or tragically, actual abuse the process is in place to protect that individual and should be used and applied aggressively. Often, while individuals are going through the divorce process or custody battle for the children one or both parties will use this process to gain a legal advantage in these arguments. If you are in a volatile situation I strongly suggest that you remove yourself from the environment as you will inevitably find yourself explaining allegations to the police which will quickly escalate to an action for a restraining or protective order.
The law also provides for protection from harassment or stalking. This usual occurs when a relationship goes sour and one individual cannot accept the fact that their attention is no longer desired.
As stated Georgia law allows for protective orders in cases of domestic violence and cases involving stalking or harassment. In either case, call the police and if these threats or threatening behavior continue go to the court in the county in which the threatening individual lives and seek out a protective order. Most districts provide for a non-legal advocate who will assist you with the process and procedure at initial intake. You will go before the judge and briefly explain your allegations and If the court finds your accusations sufficient you will be given an ex parte protective order, which will be served on the accused. After service the sheriff will remove the individual from the premises immediately and the order will be in effect. With this service will be a court date, usually within ten days. The initial order is ex parte, which means that evidence was presented by only one individual, the next hearing there will be evidence presented by both sides. If successful the movant will be granted twelve months of protection, which could be made permanent if necessary.
In either case, if the individual under the restraining or protective order violates this order they will be immediately arrested and face criminal charges that could escalate into a felony.