If you’re separated, you may have shared custody of your children or visitation rights. It’s difficult to share your children in the first place, but immeasurably so when you believe that your ex is treating your children poorly, perhaps even abusing them. This can be terrifying, and you may feel alone, but you have several options from which to choose in order to best protect yourself and your children.
From modifying custody orders to filing orders of protection, there are ways that a domestic violence attorney can help you make sure that you are not bothered or hurt any further. You and your children deserve safe and comfortable lives, and we take this topic extremely seriously.
How can I modify a child custody order?
If you are separated, divorced, or in the process of a divorce, it can create a very stressful environment for everyone. It can exacerbate feelings of frustration and anger, and that can lead to the beginning of or increase of domestic abuse, or child abuse. When coming up with an agreement for child custody, it is important to mention to your attorney that you are worried about your child’s safety, and provide any evidence that your child is in danger with the other parent.
If you have already settled child custody matters, but you need to take the children away from an abusive parent, then you can ask to modify the custody order. Domestic abuse is one of the few instances that allow for modification of the order.
With custody order modifications, every case is different, so it is difficult to know exactly what yours will look like and how it will go. A Knoxville family law attorney will file a petition with the court for you, stating your potential change. After that, a hearing will be scheduled, where both parties can discuss the terms of the change. While some custody modifications can be solved with a mediator instead of a judge, where child abuse is concerned, involving the courts may be the safer, quicker, and better choice.
How do I get an order of protection in Knoxville?
If you do end up needing protection against a dangerous ex, then you can ask for an order of protection. An order of protection, sometimes referred to as a restraining order, is meant to protect you and your child from harm and abuse. A protective order can do the following:
- Provide short-term child support
- Offer temporary custody of your children
- Give you temporary custody of family pets
- Make the abusive spouse leave your shared home
- Make the abusive spouse cease all harassing or abusive behavior
Once you have an order of protection, your abuser is not allowed to contact you or your children – whether that’s by phone call, text, email, or through social media. They can’t even send one of their friends over to talk to you. If they violate the order, they are going to face major penalties, such as jail time and fines.
If your ex tries to contact you, do not reply. Do not respond even with “Leave me alone.” Not only is this dangerous, but the courts may see this communication as a sign that you do not truly believe that you are in danger. What you can do is save those messages for your attorneys, who can use them against your ex. Every violation against an order of protection is 10 days in jail. To file an order of protection, you have to be in a relationship with or be related to the abuser. A restraining order, however, does not require there to be any sort of relationship between the two of you.
You can file for an order of protection here or speak with one of our attorneys.
How long does an order of protection last?
When you are granted an order of protection, your ex must stop all contact with you and your children for a year. If, when you file the report, you can show that you are in immediate danger, the court may give you a temporary order without the need for a hearing. That temporary order lasts fifteen days.
When your ex receives the order, there will be a hearing date set where both parties will have a chance to tell their side of the story. Having enough evidence is crucial to granting a full order, and once a full order is granted, it goes into effect for an entire year. If your ex violates the terms of the order, you can choose to petition the court for the order to be extended to five years.
How can a Knoxville family law lawyer help me?
As you are going through your separation or divorce, or perhaps dealing with the aftermath, and abuse begins, then you should focus on your family and their safety. The family law attorneys at LaFevor & Slaughter will handle the rest. We will complete all paperwork and demonstrate proper evidence, so that you and your children can continue to live in a safe and comfortable environment.
Our number one priority when it comes to cases like this is making sure that your ex can no longer harm you or your family without legal repercussions. If you feel like you or your child is in danger from your ex-spouse, then let us help. You are not alone. Reach out to safety and call us today at (865) 637-6258 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.
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