Domestic violence is a complex area of family law in Atlanta. Under Georgia law, domestic violence often involves criminal and family courts, even though they are two different areas of law. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may not know which type of lawyer you should hire. In these situations, it is difficult to know whether you need to speak to an Atlanta criminal prosecutor or a family law practitioner.
At Carter/Pilgrim, we represent domestic violence victims in the field of family law. If you are considering getting a divorce, domestic violence will play a role in your divorce proceedings. If you and your domestic abuser are co-parents, family court judges will also consider domestic abuse during child custody matters. If you are involved in a domestic violence case in the greater Atlanta area, Carter/Pilgrim can help. Contact our Atlanta law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.
Domestic Violence and Family Law
The area of family law covers not only divorce but all areas associated with divorce. For example, the distribution of assets, child support, spousal support, child custody, visitation, and paternity issues are all part of family law. Domestic violence is also part of the area of family law. Victims of domestic violence may need to seek a protective order to keep themselves and their children safe.
When domestic violence is ongoing, the Department of Family Services will usually get involved. If the Department of Family Services becomes involved with you and your children, speaking with an experienced family law attorney can be wise. At Carter/Pilgrim, we can help you understand your rights as a parent as you work with a social worker from the Department of Family Services.
Domestic Violence in the Criminal Courts
In many cases, when law enforcement shows up to a domestic violence call, they may arrest the domestic violence suspect. Atlanta prosecutors can then bring criminal domestic violence charges against the suspect in criminal court. The defendant, who is accused of domestic violence, cannot launch counter-allegations against the victim.
If you are the victim of domestic violence, your abuser who is facing criminal charges cannot bring domestic charges against you, he or she can only defend against his or her domestic violence allegations. You will likely be called to testify at a domestic abuse criminal proceeding.
Domestic Violence in Family Court
During a family law case, the victim does not receive any legal protections. Family proceedings operate on the assumption that a family dispute is not a criminal dispute. Courts do not have remedies for criminal acts that are involved in family dispute cases. In family law disputes, including divorce and child custody proceedings, the accused domestic abuser can defend himself or herself with their allegations.
In some cases, a domestic violence abuser can turn the Georgia courts against the domestic violence victim. Hiring an experienced domestic violence lawyer to help you with your case is essential. At Carter/Pilgrim, we can represent your best interests during your divorce or child custody hearings. We will present evidence demonstrating domestic violence in your case. We will advocate for your best interests throughout your divorce or custody matter while seeking a child custody agreement that protects you and your children.
Getting an Order of Protection in Atlanta
Domestic violence victims have the right to seek a protective order or a restraining order in the state of Georgia. The purpose of orders of protection is to stop domestic violence within a family. Georgia courts will issue an order of protection to limit the behavior of a person who harms or threatens another person.
Georgia family court, criminal court, and the Supreme Court judges can all issue an order of protection. Atlanta family courts can issue orders of protection as part of a civil, not a criminal proceeding. Family court proceedings in Georgia are confidential, and judges seek to stop violence within a family and provide protection for any individuals who have been hurt, or who are at risk. Your relationship to the other person needs to fall into one of the following categories to obtain an order of protection in a Georgia Family Court:
- A current or former spouse
- Someone with whom you have a child in common
- A family member to whom you are related by marriage or blood
- Someone with whom you have an intimate relationship
An intimate relationship doesn’t need to be sexual in nature when it comes to requesting an order of protection in a family court. Instead, an intimate relationship depends on how often you see each other, or how long you’ve known each other. After you file a petition, the Georgia family court will determine whether you’re in an intimate relationship.
What Does a Georgia Order of Protection Do?
An order of protection can direct the offending person not to injure, threaten, or harass your family, or any other person to listen to the order. A restraining order can restrict the individual regulated by order of protection by requiring him or her to do the following:
- Stay away from you and your children
- Move out of your family home
- Help you obtain your personal property
- Require the abuser to provide you with alternate housing
- Order counseling for the abuser
- Order the abuser to pay you spousal support
- Award you attorney’s fees and costs
- Require the abuser to follow child custody orders
- Require the abuser to pay child support
- Require the abuser to turn in a gun or weapon
Contact Our Experienced Domestic Violence Family Lawyers Today
At Carter/Pilgrim, we understand which facets of Georgia laws can protect you in a domestic violence incident. This knowledge is critical to your divorce case, your child custody case, or your petition for an order of protection. The sooner you reach out to a family lawyer, the better. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with our Atlanta law firm.