In Georgia, there are several types of restraining orders. The two most common are Temporary Protective Orders (TPO) and Mutual Restraining Orders (MRO). While both are called restraining orders, they are used in very different situations.
At Spooner & Associates, we encounter MROs frequently. This type of restraining order is often put in place automatically in the event of a divorce, custody modification or other domestic action. Mutual restraining orders are used to keep the status quo between the parties. For example, most MROs provide that neither party can cancel health or auto insurance policies, sell marital assets, or remove the children from the county, state, or country.
Although MROs are automatically applied by the courts and may seem fairly innocent, they should not be violated. The individual violating the MRO can be held in contempt of court. The consequences of violating the MRO can be severe and can even include jail time. It is important to hire a family law attorney when served with a domestic action that contains an MRO. Your attorney can advise you on the “do’s and don’ts” of the MRO.
The second type of restraining order is a temporary protective order (TPO). This is what most people think of when they hear “restraining order.” A TPO is put in place to protect the victim from stalking or domestic violence. A person requesting a TPO must first present enough evidence to convince the judge there is a danger and protection is needed. The judge then issues an order to remove the alleged offending party from the residence or notify them to stay away from the victim.
After the initial order is issued, a hearing is scheduled where both sides have the opportunity to present evidence to the court. If the TPO is granted, the Court has wide latitude and power to protect the victim. The court can require the offender to move out of their home and cease contact with the victim and/or their children. The court can also require payment of alimony, child support, and certain bills. TPO requirements may also include turning over weapons to law enforcement.
TPOs are typically put in place for 6 months, but can extend longer. They can even be made permanent. For a married couple, a judge in a TPO hearing can issue an order very similar to a temporary divorce order that includes child custody and visitation, possession of the house, and child support payments. It is extremely important for both sides to have a legal representative at the TPO hearing due to the potential long-term repercussions. If a TPO is violated, the consequences can include arrest and jail time.
The attorneys of Spooner & Associates have extensive experience with family law, including managing restraining orders and advocating on a client’s behalf. If you need protection or you feel a TPO has been falsely filed against you, contact us to discuss your options. Simply fill out the form on our website to begin the process.
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CONTACT SPOONER & ASSOCIATES (678) 714-1131
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