How Do I File for a Protective Order?
Gather What You’ll Need
- Proof of identity, such as a valid Georgia driver’s license
- Information about the respondent, such as their full name, date of birth, home address, and contact information.
- Required forms, such as a petition for a temporary protective order. There may be multiple documents required for one petition. If your case involves child support, you will need to submit additional documents, such as financial affidavits or child support worksheets. These forms may vary by county and can be provided by the Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court.
- Evidence that is specific and clearly documented. Please consult with your legal representative to determine what evidence you need for your protective order petition. You may need to present proof of relationship to the respondent and proof of violence, such as assault, stalking, or threats.
- Explanation of why you believe you need protection. Please consult with your legal representative to determine what explanation you need for your protective order petition. You may need to explain why you believe violence may occur in the future and why you fear for your safety.
- Witnesses who can provide testimony that supports the claims in your petition. This can include a family member or police officer. Your witnesses must be able to appear in person in court during a full hearing.
File a Protective Order Petition
There are three types of protective orders available in Georgia: family violence protective orders, stalking protective orders, and employer protective orders. You’ll have to specify which type of protective order you are petitioning for.
- Family violence protective orders: Victims of family violence can petition for a protective order against a spouse, family member, or household member that has committed an act of violence against the petitioner.
- Stalking protective orders: Victims of stalking can petition for a protective order against someone who has followed, surveilled, or threatened the safety of the petitioner without their consent.
- Employer protective orders: Victims of workplace violence can petition for a protective order against an employer that has threatened or committed an act of violence against the petitioner.
File a petition to the Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court of the county where the respondent resides. You must complete and sign all required paperwork. Please contact the Superior Court for information about how to submit a petition to the Clerk’s Office.
Your petition will be assigned a case number, or docket number. Please keep this number for your records.
Appear in Court
- You may have multiple court hearings during your petition process. On the day of your court appearance, arrive early and go to your assigned courtroom. Bring a copy of all your required forms and documents with you. If you fail to attend your hearing, the court may dismiss your case.
- Your first court appearance may be an ex parte initial hearing. Your initial hearing could happen as early as the day you file a petition. The respondent is not notified of and does not attend this hearing. The judge will review your case and decide whether it is necessary to immediately grant an ex parte protective order that will last until the full hearing. The judge will order the local sheriff’s department to serve, or deliver, the ex parte protective order to the respondent.
- Your full hearing will be within 30 days of you filing a petition. During the full hearing, the judge will hear your case and any witness testimony, review the evidence, and make a decision. The respondent is notified by the local sheriff’s department of and is expected to attend this hearing. The judge will either dismiss the petition due to insufficient evidence or grant a temporary protective order.
- If a temporary protective order is issued, you will receive a certified copy. The sheriff’s department will serve the order to the respondent. The Superior Court Clerk's Office, the local sheriff's department, and the Family Violence Protective Order Registry will also have a record of this order.
- The temporary protective order goes into effect when the order has been served to the respondent.
- Temporary protective orders usually expire after 6 to 12 months. You must petition the Superior Court if you wish for the order to be extended or to be converted to a permanent order.
Commission on Family Violence: Office
This information was prepared as a public service of the State of Georgia to provide general information, not to advise on any specific legal problem. It is not, and cannot be construed to be, legal advice. If you have questions regarding any matter contained on this page, please contact the related agency.