Orders of Protection Attorneys in Knoxville
When you need help now with domestic violence and restraining orders in TN
Everyone has the right to feel safe – everyone. Whether at home, work, or just out in public, if someone is threatening the life and safety of you or your child, you have the right to take your life back. Often, domestic violence issues stem from contested divorces and highly contentious splits. These types of disputes, if not dealt with early, can spin out into abuse, putting your family’s safety at risk.
In 2018, the state of Tennessee recorded 73,568 reports of domestic assault. Women accounted for about 71% of victims, with men making up the rest. “Boyfriend/girlfriend” was the most commonly reported type of relationship. And, nearly 10% of all victims were juveniles.
At LaFevor & Slaughter, we don’t waste a minute if you or your kids need help getting an order of protection. Our only priority is protecting your safety and immediately removing your spouse or partner from your home and ensuring your family is safe from further abuse. Our Knoxville family law attorneys are here for you with compassionate and reliable support. Call us for help.
What is an order of protection in Tennessee?
Sometimes called a restraining order, orders of protection protect you from domestic abuse. This can include physical violence, sexual assault, stalking, or any other type of abuse you believe puts your or your child’s life in danger. You can petition for an order of protection directly, or our Knoxville domestic violence attorneys can do it for you.
An order of protection can do the following:
- Award you short-term child support
- Give you temporary custody of your children
- Give you temporary custody of your family pets
- Make the respondent leave your shared home
- Make the respondent stop all harassing or abusive behavior
The order of protection means your abuser can’t contact you, call you, text you, email you, Facebook you, or get one of their buddies to try to contact you, either. If they violate any term of the order, they can face big penalties, like fines and jail time.
Who can get an order of protection?
When we’re talking about domestic violence, when seeking an order of protection, you have to show that there’s a relationship between you and your abuser. Under Tennessee law, the following types of people are eligible to seek an order of protection for domestic violence:
- Blood relatives or related through adoption
- Current or former roommates
- Current or former spouses
- In a current or former dating or sexual relationship
- Relatives by marriage
- Children of any of the parties listed above
Both adults and minors can seek orders of protection. Our Knoxville attorneys can help you with the process.
How much does an order of protection cost in Tennessee?
When you file for an order of protection, it costs you nothing. In fact, if the court grants the permanent order, it can also require the respondent (that’s your abuser or harasser) to pay court costs, attorney fees, and other related expenses. Do keep in mind, though, that if the respondent is successful in having the order dismissed, they won’t be responsible for those costs.
How long does an order of protection last? Are there different types of orders?
An order of protection forces the respondent to stop all contact with you or your child for one year. However, when you file the petition showing you’re in immediate danger, the court gives you a temporary order without requiring a hearing (ex parte). This order starts immediately and lasts 15 days.
Once the other party receives notice of the order, the court sets a hearing date, where both of you have the chance to tell your side of the story. If they find enough evidence to grant the full order, it goes into effect for one year (extended). Any violation of the order can result in up to 10 days in jail. If the respondent violates the terms of the order, you may petition the court to have it extended for up to five years. The lawyers at LaFevor & Slaughter in Knoxville can help you build a strong case for extension to continue keeping your family safe.
Is there a difference between an order of protection and a restraining order in Tennessee?
Yes. Unlike an order of protection, you don’t have to be related to or in a relationship with the abuser or harasser to file a restraining order. Courts often issue restraining orders for cases of imminent danger or damage. This can include orders preventing your spouse from taking certain assets or property before a divorce is final. It can also prevent a spouse from leaving the state or the country with your children. Additionally, restraining orders can last longer than orders of protection.
I have a protection order and my ex keeps contacting me. What should I do?
You should do nothing. Do NOT respond. Your first instinct might be to text or call back and say “leave me alone,” but you shouldn’t do it. Don’t. Not only is it unsafe, but the courts don’t look kindly on it, as it indicates you may not really feel threatened. If your harasser or abuser keeps attempting to contact you, let them. Save the messages and give them to your attorneys – we’ll deal with it. There is a potential 10 day jail sentence for each violation. Never engage, for your own safety and legal concerns.
How do domestic violence issues affect child custody?
If you and your ex have children together, domestic violence and orders of protection may be relevant when deciding child custody. Obviously, if the other parent is a threat to your child’s safety, you’ll likely be awarded primary custody and the abuser’s custody will likely be strictly limited. This means your abuser will have no input into any major decisions affecting your child’s life, including medical, where you live, educational, extracurricular, and religious choices. Or, the parent may receive heavily supervised visitation.
Whatever the situation, the court will decide that’s in the best interest of your child only. Our Knoxville child custody attorneys will fight tooth and nail to ensure your safety and the safety of your children.
My ex falsely served me with a protective order. What can I do?
Tennessee law protects victims of abuse above all. Unfortunately, however, that doesn’t mean that in the heat of divorce or terrible custody battles, people don’t file false petitions or charges in an attempt to defame the other person’s character or try to get an upper hand in the divorce or custody action. It’s quite rare but it happens. A person can get an ex parte order of protection without your presence, which lasts 15 days. You’ll have to go to a hearing if the petitioner wants the order extended, in which case you’ll want an experienced attorney by your side. We can help tell your side of the story.
What rights can I lose if an order of protection goes into place?
Orders of protection are serious business, and you could lose a lot if one goes into place:
- You can’t possess firearms
- You could lose out on job opportunities because it could show up in a background check
- You may have to leave your home but still pay rent for your ex to stay there
- You could lose the right to see your kids
On top of all this, you’re still going to have to pay child support and/or spousal support. There could be a lot of collateral damage, so make sure to contact us right away.
Talk to compassionate Knoxville domestic violence attorneys
When it comes to orders of protection, you need the right attorney by your side. Someone who can help keep you and your children safe while you work through one of the most difficult times of your life. When it comes to your family’s well-being, put your trust in LaFevor & Slaughter. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at (865) 637-6258 or fill out our contact form today.