Family Violence

Family violence is a problem in our society. For victims, Mr. Rich files Petitions for Protective Orders, and/or represents the victims at the 30 day hearing, after they have obtained an ex parte 30 day order on their own, usually through a court program associated with a shelter such as Family Haven. In Georgia, any adult can obtain a temporary protective order, if they have been the victim of family violence. Family violence is defined as: any felony or act of simple assault, assault, simple battery, battery, stalking, criminal damage to property, criminal trespass, or unlawful restraint, committed upon a person by a past or present spouse, persons who are parents of the same child, parents, children, step parents, step children, foster parents, foster children, or persons who lived in the same household (roommates).

If you are the victim of Family Violence, you have two different remedies. You can use one, or the other, or both. Miles W. Rich files Petitions for Relief asking for the civil remedy. You may also seek a criminal warrant through local law enforcement.

If someone is the victim of a recent act of family violence, they may file a Petition for Relief. The Petition alleges the acts of Family Violence and is then presented to the proper judge. The judge may interview the victim to gain further knowledge of the facts. The judge then decides whether to issue an ex parte order or not. Ex parte means that only the victim needs to be present, and the opposing party, the alleged perpetrator, is not present. If the judge believes an act of Family Violence has occurred, he issues a Temporary Protective Order that is good for only 30 days. The judge then schedules a hearing to occur before the 30 day expiration date. The Petition, the 30 Day Order, and notice of the hearing, are then served upon the Respondent/Defendant, the alleged perpetrator.

The Hearing is then held, where both parties present witnesses and evidence. The judge then decides if the Petitioner, the alleged victim, proved by a preponderance of the evidence, that an act of Family Violence occurred. If the Judge decides that the Petitioner proved his or her case, a 6 month or 12 month protective order is issued.

While Family Violence is a serious offense, and is very damaging to families, unfortunately, the process has been overused and abused, in order for one party to gain an advantage in family disputes, or upcoming divorces. Because the ex parte order is issued without hearing from the alleged perpetrator, a person can make up a story about being a victim of violence and get an ex parte order. Unfortunately, this happens all too often, and not only is the innocent respondent harmed, but so are all real victims of family violence.

Mr. Rich represents Respondents in Family Violence cases too, and over the last 13 years has probably represented an equal number of Respondents and Petitioners. These cases usually involve a physical altercation between spouses or former lovers, where the parties are the parents of the same children. In these cases, even if the events took place as alleged in the Petition, the parties will have to have some future interaction, possibly through intermediaries, in order for the children's relationship with one of the parties to not be seriously affected. Often, the case can be settled with the issuance of an Order that protects the Petitioner/Victim without overly punishing the Respondent/Perpetrator.

Stalking Protective Orders

In some cases, someone is stalked by a person that they have no familial relationship with. If this occurs, they can obtain an ex parte stalking protective order. The process works in the same way as it does with a Family Violence ex parte order. Miles W. Rich represents both Petitioners and Respondents in Stalking Protective Order cases.

Disputes with DFACS (Department of Family and Children's Services)

Most DFACS cases involve state intervention into the family where DFACS either removes or threatens to remove the minor children from the home of their parents. Miles W. Rich represents parents in disputes with DFACS. His key motivation in these cases is to either keep the family together or restore the family after it has been separated.