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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What Happens in a TPO Hearing, and How I Can Help; Insight on Temporary Protective Orders from a Family Law Expert

First, let's start with defining "TPO" or Temporary Protective Order. TPO's typically start as an "Emergency Order" filed by someone who wants protection from another person. This Emergency Order is effective for 30 days, and during that time the person who is the alleged aggressor (the respondent) cannot contact the person who filed for the TPO (the petitioner). The word "contact" is not just limited to physically visiting the person who requested protection - the respondent should not contact the petitioner in any way during that time period, including through texts, e-mail or phone calls. Oftentimes, the TPO also protects other members of the household, such as children. 

Scheduling the TPO Hearing 

The respondent has a right to a hearing within the 30 day period, therefore, if the Emergency Order is granted, a hearing will be set at that time as well. However, the hearing will not be held unless the respondent is served. For the order to be served, it's helpful if the petitioner can give local authorities suggestions on the whereabouts of the respondent. 

At the TPO Hearing

In order for the TPO to be extended beyond the 30 day period, the petitioner needs to explain to the judge why the TPO should be effective for a year. Both sides have the opportunity to tell their stories at the hearing, and both are expected to ask questions, provide witnesses and cross-examine. The hearing is a vital part of the TPO process, and you need to be well-prepared. Having an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with the strategies and procedures of a TPO is very helpful when having your voice heard. It can be especially difficult if you are representing yourself when the other party has an attorney there to advocate for them. 

If the TPO is Granted

If the judge grants the TPO, it is effective immediately and enforceable by every law enforcement agency in the state, and the respondent will be arrested if the TPO is violated. The TPO applies to anyone in the household that is listed in the order, including children. Laws vary state-to-state, so it's important to work with an attorney or an advocate to understand the extent of where, when and how protection is granted if you plan to move out state. 

Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business. For more information on this topic, email Megan Pearson at mpearson@smithwelchlaw.com or call 770-957-3937.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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