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Family Violence In Georgia


No one should ever have to deal with family violence, but the rate of occurrence is far too high. The Georgia Commission on Family Violence estimates nearly 62,000 family violence incidents were actually reported to police in 2017. If you are in a situation where you are experiencing family violence, divorce or other protective measures may be the key to ensuring your safety and that of your children.

Divorce Filing After Violence

In Georgia, family violence is defined as, “…the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are 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:

(1) Any felony; or

(2) Commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass.

The term ‘family violence’ shall not be deemed to include reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child in the form of corporal punishment, restraint, or detention.” O.C.G.A. § 19-3-1.

If you have been a victim of family violence, as defined above, you may consider filing for protection under the state’s Family Violence Act (FVA), which covers abuse against spouses (past or present), as well as in certain other non-marital relationships. A filing under the FVA can help to ensure that you and your children are safe. Furthermore, if you can establish that family violence has occurred and/or is likely to occur, you may be granted a temporary protective order.

Child Custody

Child custody is a fraught subject even in divorce proceedings where no family violence is present, so as one can imagine, it can be even worse in such acrimonious situations. Georgia law sets out a long list of factors that a court must consider in determining custody, including the emotional bonds between each parent and their child, each parent’s ability to provide for their child, the stability of the home, and any history of neglect or violence on the part of each parent.

Georgia’s laws regarding child custody are designed to further the best interests of the child, therefore, if the evidence shows that a parent would subject their child to physical, emotional, or mental harm if awarded custody, the court has discretion to not award that parent custody and/or parenting time with the child. The court can also put certain safety precautions or restrictions, such as supervision, in place to ensure a child’s well-being during a parent’s  time with a child.

Call An Atlanta Family Lawyer

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, it is crucial that you know your options and know you do not have to live in fear. The Atlanta divorce lawyers at Buckhead Family Law can help you file the appropriate petitions to get your life back on track and keep your family safe. Call us today to schedule a consultation.


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