Kingston Lawyers Striving to Keep You Safe and Help You File Orders of Protection
The state of Tennessee takes domestic abuse cases very seriously and will put steps in place to protect victims. With this responsibility in mind, the Tennessee Domestic Abuse Statute allows victims of domestic violence to be issued with Orders of Protection; these help to ensure a prompt response from law enforcement if violated, and they offer enhanced security and protection.
What Is An Order of Protection?
Tennessee law states that “[A]ny domestic abuse victim, stalking victim or sexual assault victim who has been subjected to, threatened with, or placed in fear of, domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault” may file for an Order of Protection.
This is a legal petition, filed with the court, and it can be granted immediately. The intention is to offer protection for victims of domestic abuse, including pets and children. Once an Order of Protection is filed, it may state the following:
- The abuser is ordered to stop abusing or threatening to abuse the victim and any children
- The abuser is ordered to leave a jointly occupied residence
- Temporary custody of children is awarded to the victim
- Temporary visitation rights are awarded to the abuser
- Family and child support orders are temporarily put in place
- Family pets are protected from harm or risk of harm
Am I Eligible For An Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection can be awarded to someone who fits the legal definition of a “domestic abuse victim.” This is defined as being:
- Adults or minors who live together, or who have lived together
- Adults or minors who are current or former spouses
- Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated, or who have or have had a sexual relationship
- Adults or minors who are related by blood or adoption
- Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage
- Adults or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described above
- Sexual assault victims
- Stalking victims
How Do I Obtain An Order Of Protection?
Getting an Order of Protection is a simple process, and it is the same all through the state of Tennessee. The requirements are as follows:
- One party fills out a Petition for Orders of Protection. The Petition must include, in writing, the facts which support the Order of Protection being awarded. In other words, they are required to state what has happened which has made them in need of immediate protection from the Court. The individual will also be required to swear, under oath and penalty of perjury, that the events detailed in the Petition are true and correct.
- The Magistrate then reviews the Petition for the Order of Protection. In most cases, they will decide to issue an ex parte Order of Protection. This is a temporary Order which prohibits the other party from contacting the petitioner for any reason. With ex parte Orders, the hearing will be set within 15 days of the Order being issued.
- At the hearing, the Court hears from three parties: the Petitioner, the Respondent, and witnesses brought forward by each party. The Petitioner will be required to prove that all of the facts presented in the petition are more likely than not to have occurred; the onus of proof is on them. The Respondent will be allowed to display proof that the Petitioner is lying, exaggerating, or wrong.
- The judge will consider the testimony of witnesses and both parties, as well as all exhibits and evidence presented to the court. Based on these factors, they will decide to either grant or dismiss the Order of Protection.
What Happens If A Party Violates An Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is a legal document, and violation will result in immediate arrest, as soon as the police receive a phone call from the victim. The violation of an Order of Protection counts as a Class A Misdemeanor, and the punishment is up to 11 months 29 days in jail, as well as a fine which can be up to $2500. In addition, the abuser may sometimes violate an ex parte Order of Protection prior to the hearing. If this is the case, they will be arrested and incarcerated.
How Can We Help?
Here at Davis Law Firm, we have a wealth of experience in all areas of family law across the Kingston area, and this includes assisting with procuring Orders of Protection. We can work with you to seek help, safety, and security by drawing up a Petition for an Order, and in enabling you to access and navigate the legal system.
Get in touch today at (865) 354-3333, and let us help you protect your safety, your home, and your loved ones.