Brentwood Domestic Violence Attorney
In Tennessee, victims of domestic violence can obtain protection orders that prevent future abuse and protect petitioners from further harm. Obtaining a protective order can have significant repercussions for all parties involved, making it especially important for those who are in need of protection, to reach out to an experienced Brentwood domestic violence attorney who can help them navigate the legal process.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse occurs when a household or family member inflicts, attempts to inflict, or threatens to inflict physical harm on a victim. Examples include hitting, kicking, choking, physical restraint, or maliciously damaging personal property. For a person to be eligible for an order of protection, his or her abuser must qualify as a family or household member, which includes:
- Current and former spouses;
- Relatives by blood, marriage, or adoption;
- Current or former cohabitants;
- Current or former romantic partners; and
- Parents and children.
However, a family or household connection is not necessary for those who seeking an order of protection for stalking or sexual assault.
Obtaining a Protective Order
In Tennessee, domestic violence victims can ask the court for a civil protective order that, if granted, prohibits alleged abusers from harming, or even coming into contact with the petitioner. Although it is a civil order, obtained in civil court, violating the order can still result in criminal penalties, including fines and jail time. To receive an order of protection, a person must fill out the petition, including details about the domestic abuse and required relationship, and then serve the petition on the court and the alleged abuser. At this point, the respondent can file a response before both parties attend a hearing on the matter.
Ex Parte Orders
Victims of domestic violence who believe that they are in immediate danger can ask the court for an ex-parte (temporary) order of protection. Based on the information in the petition, the court can order temporary relief to the victim without holding a hearing. Ex-parte orders prohibit abusers from coming into contact with the petitioner and can also give petitioners sole possession of a shared residence. The order will remain in effect for 15 days, at which point it can be extended (after a hearing), or can be dissolved if the evidence doesn’t support its renewal or the petitioner asks for its termination. Final orders, on the other hand, besides prohibiting a respondent from harming or contacting the victim, can include details about child custody, child support, spousal support, and mandatory counseling programs. Final protective orders usually stay in place for at least a year, but can be extended or dissolved by the court at any time.
Call Our Brentwood Domestic Violence Legal Team
If you experience domestic violence in an intimate relationship, it could be in your best interests to ask the court for a protective order. To learn more about this process, please call the dedicated domestic violence lawyers in Brentwood at Beal, Nations & Crutcher today. You can set up an initial consultation with a member of our legal team by calling 615-861-2304 or by completing one of our online contact forms.