How to obtain a temporary protective order
What You Should Know Before Filing a Temporary Protective Order (TPO)
- The Petitioner is the person who is seeking a Protective Order
- The Respondent is the person who the petition is filed against
- Ex Parte – Hearing where the Judge hears ONLY the Petitioner’s (YOUR) side
- The Respondent MUST live in Fulton County in order to file a TPO in Fulton County
- The person (Petitioner) must be at least 18 years old to apply for a TPO
- The person that you are filing against (Respondent) must be at least 18 years of age
- The PETITIONER MUST HAVE AN ACCURATE AND COMPLETE ADDRESS FOR THE RESPONDENT
How to File the TPO
Litigants must file Protective Orders IN Person
- The party seeking the TPO should arrive to The Family Division of Fulton County Superior Court 136 Pryor Street Suite J2-826 Atlanta, GA. 30303
- The Family Division Team will provide all documents to be completed for the TPO. Paperwork can be completed Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
- Please have a valid ID available to show the Judge and staff.
- Keep checking your email.
Please Note: You DO NOT have a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) until you have a hearing with a judge who will determine if a TPO will be granted. Hearings are held at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm Monday through Friday. If your petition is completed after 12 pm., your hearing will be set for the next business day. (Petitions are dismissed after (2) business days when Petitioners fail to respond to the judge’s hearing request.
Please contact the One Stop Office of the Family Division with any Questions 404-613-4579
Purpose of a Temporary Protective Order
Victims of violence can petition a judge for a protective order. If you are a victim of violence, you can file a petition for a temporary protective order (TPO). A protective order restrains the accused person, also known as the respondent, from harassing, stalking, or threatening the physical safety of the petitioner. We have developed a One Stop Shop for individuals seeking protective orders. Our team of court professionals is available to assist petitioners with the process of obtaining a TPO.
One Stop Shop Hours: Monday – Friday | 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
What is a Temporary Protective Order?
A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) helps to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking. The order will require the abuser to stay a certain distance away from you, your home and your work. The abuser will be prohibited from contacting you in person, by email, by telephone, by mail and through a third party. The court can also order the abuser to stay away from your children if the court feels the abuser poses a risk to your children.
The Family Violence Act, beginning at O.C.G.A. § 19-13-1, is a law to protect people who are abused by present or past spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children or other persons living or formerly living in the same household. It can also be used to get temporary custody, financial support and other assistance for the abused person. If there is no relationship and you do not qualify for a family violence protective order, you may be eligible for a protective order under the Stalking Law, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94.
A Temporary Protective Order is not the same as a Temporary Restraining Order. Please consult with an attorney before coming to the Family Division if you are unclear as to whether you need a Protective Order or a Restraining Order. The Family Division does not accept petitions for Restraining Orders.
The Safe Families Office (SFO) is a lawyer and DV advocate-staffed clinic located in the Fulton County Courthouse. The SFO is operated by the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) and the Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV). Upon referral from the Family Division’s One Stop Shop, the SFO staff and volunteers offer TPO-related guidance and assistance to survivors of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and child abuse. For further information about the SFO, please visit our website or call 404-612-4324.
A petitioner can always elect to seek private counsel or proceed without representation or assistance.
At the time of completing the petition, the Petitioner must have a valid Fulton County address for service upon the Respondent. A TPO may be served by a Fulton County Deputy Sheriff or by any law enforcement officer in Fulton County, including but not limited to police officers, marshals, and probation officers, pursuant to the Order for Limited Appointment for Process Service, which can be printed click here to access Order For Appointing Limited Process Service pdfhere. A TPO may also be served by a private process server who has been appointed by the Superior Court of Fulton County. A list of process servers who have been appointed by the Superior Court of Fulton County for the current year may be found click here to access Order Appointing Process Servers pdfhere.
The TPO is NOT IN EFFECT until served upon the Respondent. If problems arise with the Respondent, the Petitioner should immediately call 911 and advise them of the current situation.
All Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) not served upon the Respondent due to lack of a valid address will remain on file at the Fulton County Sheriff's Department for 30 days. Deputies have access to these Orders 24 hours 7 days a week. If a valid address becomes available, the Petitioner is responsible for notifying the Fulton County Sheriff's Department of the address. The Fulton County Sheriff Department's phone number is (404) 612-5100
If an emergency protective order is in place, the temporary restrictions must be followed by the Petitioner and Respondent until appearance in court. Parties need to appear in court on the date listed on the petition and be prepared to participate in a full hearing. The Domestic Violence Court Judge will make a determination whether or not to grant or deny the Petitioner's request for a TPO based on the evidence presented by both parties. If the Petitioner does not show up for court, the petition for a TPO will most likely be dismissed. If the Respondent has been served and does not show up for court, a Default Judgment can be entered against him or her
The Court may reset the case and provide another court date as long as the new court date is scheduled within the 30-day statutory time frame from the filing of the TPO petition. If there is an emergency protective order in place, the Court may continue the emergency protective order until the new court date