How to fight a TPO in Georgia depends on many factors, such as why the TPO was filed and available defenses. You need to be familiar with the Georgia TPO statute. For example, there are different requirements for granting a family violence TPO as opposed to a stalking TPO.
If you have been served with a family violence or stalking TPO and would like to discuss how to fight the TPO, you may want to chat with Atlanta Divorce Lawyer.
How do you defend yourself against a TPO in Georgia?
There are many ways to defend yourself against a TPO. One way to fight a TPO in Georgia is to challenge the petition for TPO procedurally. Pursuant to the Georgia TPO statute, there are specific procedural requirements that must be followed. If certain procedural requirements are not satisfied, you may raise this issue with the court to challenge the TPO.
Another way to defend yourself against a TPO in Georgia is to show that the petitioner has failed to prove every element of the alleged family violence or stalking at the hearing. The petitioner has the burden of proof to show that a TPO should be granted. If the petitioner fails to meet this burden of proof, the petition for TPO may be dismissed.
Defense #1: Is a full TPO hearing held within 30 days after the filing of the TPO petition?
Under the Georgia TPO statute, a TPO hearing where the petitioner must prove his or her allegations against the respondent must occur within 30 days after the filing of the petition for TPO. If not, the TPO petition must generally be dismissed, unless both parties agree otherwise. O.C.G.A. § 19-13-3(c).
However, if a party is avoiding service to delay the hearing, the court may delay dismissal of the TPO petition for an extra 30 days. O.C.G.A. § 19-13-3(e).
Defense #2: Did the petitioner prove his or her allegations satisfactorily in a TPO in Georgia?
The petitioner must prove his or her allegations satisfactorily as in other civil actions. That is, the petitioner must prove the allegations in his or her petition for TPO by a preponderance of the evidence.
The petitioner’s failure to prove the allegations may be one of the the defenses to petition for temporary protective order and one way to get the TPO dropped.
Further, the respondent has a right to cross-examine the petitioner at the TPO hearing. Jha v. Menkee, 833 S.E.2d 759 (Ga. App. 2019).
Thus, if the petitioner filed to get a false TPO in Georgia, the respondent should be able to point to a lack of valid grounds or evidence for the TPO at the hearing and fight the TPO.
Could the respondent file a counter-petition for TPO against the petitioner?
Yes, the respondent could raise a claim against the petitioner and may file a counter-petition for TPO against the petitioner.
Thus, if the petitioner committed acts of family violence against the respondent, the respondent could file a counter-petition raising such claims.
Pursuant to the Georgia TPO statute, the verified counter-petition, if any, must be filed no later than three days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, prior to the hearing.
Could the parties settle the TPO in Georgia by agreement?
One way for the parties to resolve the TPO issue without a hearing is to reach an agreement. Per the Georgia TPO statute, the parties may work something out and reach an agreement or agree to a mutual TPO. O.C.G.A. § 19-13-4(a).
For example, with the court’s approval, the parties may agree to the following:
“In lieu of a finding by the court that an act of family violence was committed by the Respondent and/or Petitioner, Petitioner and Respondent have consented that this Protective Order should be entered by the Court, without specifically admitting to the commission of an act of family violence by either party.”
Could you ask for attorney’s fees?
You could ask for an award of attorney’s fees under the Georgia TPO statute. For example, if the petitioner filed a false TPO against you and you win the TPO hearing, the court might grant you attorney’s fees and costs.
For a free consultation about how to fight a TPO in Georgia, contact Atlanta Divorce Lawyer.