SAFE FAMILIES START HERE
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) is a nonprofit that believes no one standing up for their rights should have to do it alone.
That’s why we stand with, for, and in support of low-income Atlantans as they demand safe and stable housing, insist on fair pay for an honest day’s work, and break free from domestic violence.
The largest provider of pro bono legal services in Atlanta, we leverage the collective power and resources of our professional community to advocate for our clients during their time of greatest need. Every year, over 5,000 Atlantans receive free, first-rate legal services from our staff and the 500 professionals and students who volunteer with us.
The mission of Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) is to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empower its survivors; our vision is a community free of domestic violence. To that end we work to educate the public on the dynamics of intimate partner violence; promote healthy dating relationships among adolescents and teens to prevent future violence; offer safety and shelter for battered women and their children; restore power, self-sufficiency, and control to survivors; and create an effective and coordinated community response to intimate partner violence.
What is the Safe Families Office?The Safe Families Office (SFO) is operated by Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) and Partnership Against Domestic Violence. SFO staff and volunteers provide legal and social work assistance for survivors of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and child abuse, including: Assisting clients with preparing Temporary Protective Order (TPO) paperwork Accompanying clients through the TPO process Conducting trauma-informed interviews and risk assessments Identifying lethality indicators and barriers to safety Educating clients on TPO procedures Referring clients to victims’ assistance programs to learn more about their rights as victims of crime Providing court advocate and/or legal representation for TPO-related court hearings Referring clients to community resources, such as emergency housing/shelter, support groups, mental health, and other services
What is a Temporary Protective Order (TPO)?A TPO is a civil (as opposed to criminal) order of protection, which generally restricts the ability of the person the TPO is filed against to contact and come near the person in need of protection. TPOs can provide additional relief, including but not limited to the following: Evict an abuser from a shared residence Damage reimbursement Custody & visitation Child Support Spousal Support Prohibit abuser from purchasing or possession firearms
What is the difference between a temporary protective order and a restraining order?A temporary restraining order is an order issued by a court in circumstances where there is an immediate risk of irreparable injury, loss, or damage that will result to a person or entity by another person or entity. Unlike protective orders, a restraining order is not meant to restrain a person from coming into contact with another person or from coming within physical proximity of another person for the purpose of protecting them against personal harm. A restraining order is a temporary remedy that may be granted in cases where, for example, a party has brought a lawsuit against another party, but the party bringing the lawsuit cannot wait until the lawsuit runs its course through the legal process because they risk suffering irreparable injury, loss, or damage by the time the case runs its course. In these cases, a court can issue a temporary restraining order against the other side, restraining them from continuing to engage in acts that will potentially cause irreparable harm, loss, or damage, until the lawsuit is resolved. A temporary protective order is a standalone order issued by a court to provides protection to a person against another person that has committed family violence, dating violence, or stalking against them. When a person needs protection against another person for their personal safety, they may ask a court for a temporary protective order to prevent the perpetrator from contacting them or from coming within physical proximity of them. Additionally, when appropriate, protective orders may offer other remedies, including, but not limited to, custody of minor children, child support, spousal support, and temporary possession of property.
Where do I file for a TPO?Start by visiting the Fulton County Family Division One Stop Office, located at: 136 Pryor Street, SW | 8th Floor, Ste. C-826 | Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 612-0505 | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm | Monday – Friday In Person Process: If you wish to complete this process in person, please visit the Fulton County Family Division One Stop Office, located at 136 Pryor Street, SW | 8th Floor, Ste. C-826 | Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 612-0505 | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm | Monday – Friday. Survivors of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and child abuse will be referred to the Safe Families Office for assistance between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. The Safe Families Office is located at 160 Pryor Street, SW | Courtroom 2P | Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 612-4324. Virtual Process: If you wish to complete this process virtually, start by visiting the Fulton County Family Division One Stop Office website: https://www.fultoncourt.org/family/family-domviol.php#tpo. Survivors of intimate partner abuse, elder abuse, and child abuse will be virtually referred to the Safe Families Office for assistance. The Safe Families Office offers virtual assistance Monday – Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. For more information, please call (404) 612-4324 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
What do I need to file a TPO?A valid picture ID, if available A current address for the person you’re filing the TPO against Please Note: If the person you are filing against does not live in Fulton County, you may not be able to file in Fulton county. Call the Safe Families Office to discuss this before arriving at the courthouse.
Are there fees to file for a TPO?There are no fees to file for a TPO in Fulton County and have it served in Fulton County by the Fulton County Sheriff. However, if service must occur in another county, fees may result from that county’s sheriff’s office. You may also pay a fee if you use a private process server to serve your TPO documents on the Respondent/Defendant.
What Time Should I Arrive at Court?/What is the TPO Process?Step 1 | Apply for an Ex Parte TPO. Ex parte means you are asking the judge to hear from you without the person you are filing against being there. Step 2 | Complete and submit your documents required to apply for a TPO. If you wish to complete this process in person, you should arrive at the courthouse as close to 9 a.m. as possible on Monday through Friday, to ensure you can complete the process the same day. If you wish to complete this process virtually, the Safe Families Office will contact you within 2-3 business days to after you have submitted an Intake Questionnaire to the Fulton County Family Division One Stop Office Step 3 | If your Ex Parte TPO is granted, you will receive a copy of your TPO by email that same day. Please note: Your Ex Parte TPO will not be in effect until it has been personally served, or given to, the person you filed against. Service must be done by a law enforcement officer or private process server. Step 4 | You will be given a virtual court date to come back for a second hearing to request that your TPO be extended for up to 12 months. Both you and the person you filed against will be able to present evidence at this second hearing.
What if I can't get to the Safe Families Office?If you feel like you need a TPO, but cannot get to the Safe Families Office, you may wish to complete this process virtually. Please follow the steps to complete the virtual process.
What if I can’t wait 2-3 business days to file a TPO?If you feel like you need to complete the process the same day, you may wish to come in person. Please follow the steps to outlined above to complete this process in person.
DefinitionsPetitioner/Plaintiff: The person who files a lawsuit Respondent/Defendant: The person against whom a lawsuit was filed Ex Parte TPO: A protective order that is extremely temporary in nature, granted outside the presence of the person the TPO is filed against Ex Parte TPO Hearing: When a Petitioner/Plaintiff speaks to a judge outside the presence of the Respondent/Defendant 12-Month TPO: A protective order that is valid for 12 months from the date it is issued 12-Month TPO Hearing: A hearing, scheduled approximately two (2) weeks after the Ex Parte TPO Hearing, where Petitioner and Respondent both appear and Petitioner requests that his/her Ex Parte TPO be extended for up to 12 months Personal Service: When a qualified law enforcement officer or private process server hand delivers legal documents to a party to a lawsuit
What if I need non-TPO related legal Assistance?The Fulton County Superior Court’s Justice Resource Center offers assistance on a variety of other legal issues. If you need legal assistance with something other than a temporary protective order, we encourage you to visit the Fulton County Superior Court's Justice Resource Center website.
Other ResourcesTechnology & Your Safety The National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Technology Safety Plan The National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Survivor Toolkit Internet Browser Privacy Tips Georgia’s 24-hour statewide domestic violence hotline: 1-800-33-HAVEN
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