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Georgia has enacted a new law that directly affects Criminal Bond Orders on Family Violence and Civil Family Violence Orders. These are commonly called “no contact provisions” and “TPO orders”. O.C.G.A Section 19-13-3 was modified and passed this year by the Georgia Legislature. It is in House Bill 834.

First, and probably the biggest change, is in reference to a landlord-tenant issue that arises out of a family violence crime and order. Under the new law, "a tenant may terminate his residential rental or lease agreement 30 days after providing the landlord with a written notice of termination when a family violence order or criminal family violence order has been issued.”

For example, let’s say a husband and wife rent an apartment. The husband is arrested for hitting his wife. His wife takes out a civil family violence order (also known as a TPO: Temporary Protective Order) because she is scared of him and wants to move out. Under this new law, his wife can provide a 30-day notice to the landlord, regardless how far into the lease she is, and move out of the apartment without paying further rent or termination costs.

The second change in the law applies to Respondents (those are the people whom are alleged to have caused the violence to the Petitioner) that delay being served with a copy of the family violence order. For example, they do not answer the door when the police try to serve the order, or they leave the State of Georgia to avoid being served with the order. Unfortunately, there are hard time deadlines that apply in family violence cases, and as of now, the order would typically have to be dismissed resulting in the Petitioner not having any protection against an alleged abuser. However, as of July 1, 2018, the judge has the power to delay the dismissal of a petition for an additional 30 days if he finds the Respondent is delaying a hearing by avoiding service.

Sometimes it can be tough to serve a Respondent after they are out of jail with a family violence order. They may run, hide, or just simply not answer the door for law enforcement. In some circumstances, since they are no longer allowed to be at their house due to bond conditions in a criminal case, they may be living somewhere that law enforcement cannot find. It is up to the attorney representing the Respondent to make that known if and when is the client gets served with a petition.

The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2018. There are many more changes. Please contact Richman Law Firm if you have any questions or need advice.

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