When domestic violence occurs, you may look for any opportunities to seek safety–including the use of a restraining order. If you are in need of legal guidance on how to get a restraining order in Tennessee, this blog post is for you.
What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order, also known as an order of protection, is a court order signed by a judge that can be used to protect a person who is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. The restraining order also allows police to arrest your abuser without a warrant.
There are stipulations on who can petition the court for a protection order. For example, if you have been stalked or sexually assaulted, you can seek a restraining order regardless of your relationship with the person who committed the act.
However, if you have experienced domestic abuse, you need to have a specific relationship with the abuser. Relationships include:
- Spouse or ex-spouse;
- Someone you live with or used to live with;
- Someone you are dating or used to date;
- Someone you are having or have had a sexual relationship with;
- A same-sex partner you’ve lived with, dated, or had a sexual relationship with;
- Anyone you are related to by blood or adoption;
- Any relative by marriage or used to be related to by marriage; or
- The child of a person in one of the above relationships who is also being abused.
How To Get A Restraining Order in Tennessee: Types of Protection Orders
In Tennessee, there are two forms of restraining orders. They include:
- Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs): Temporary protection orders can be issued for “good cause,” otherwise known as an immediate and present danger of abuse. The TPOs are short term and are used until an extended protection order can be acquired. These protection orders are issued without prior notice to the abuser and without him/her being there in court. You can ask for a temporary protection order and the extended protection order at the same time. A temporary protection order lasts 15 days, or until the extended protection order has been granted.
- Extended Protection Orders (EPOs): Extended protection orders are issued after a court hearing where both sides appear in court. The extended protection order will last up to one year but can be extended for one-year periods.
How To Get a Restraining Order In Tennessee
There are certain steps you need to take when filing for a restraining order.
- 1. Gather the necessary forms. Visit TN Courthouse Locations for information.
- 2. Carefully fill out the forms. Include detailed information, etc. Do not sign it until in front of a clerk who will provide instructions on who must be present at the signing.
- 3. Attend the ex parte hearing. The judge may ask questions about the petition prior to granting temporary protections. At this point, you may also be given a full-court hearing date and time.
- 4. The abuser will be served a notice of hearing.
- 5. A full hearing will take place. The judge will or will not grant you extended protections.
Whether you are seeking a temporary or extended protection order, you must file for a
restraining order in the county where your abuser lives, or the county where the abuse, stalking, or assault took place. If your abuser does not live in Tennessee, you can file the petition in the county you live in.
Unfortunately, in cases where the abuser lives outside of Tennessee, the court may not have the authority to grant the protection from abuse order.
Restraining orders can sometimes be difficult to obtain–and while they do not require a lawyer, they are often a helpful resource to you, as you navigate your rights and the protections afforded to you.
Contact our Nashville Domestic Violence Lawyers Today: Restraining Orders
As a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or assault, seeking protection against your abuser is a top priority. We know how difficult the situation can be and how complicated the court process may appear during these challenging times. But we want to help.
If you are a domestic violence victim in Nashville, Springfield, or anywhere in Middle Tennessee, know that you are not alone. Contact the domestic violence lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC immediately for a confidential consultation and get the help you need.