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Help For Victims Of Domestic Violence And Abuse In Blount County And East Tennessee

You have the right to feel safe in your own home. So do your children. You also have the right to feel safe at work, at the grocery store, and anywhere else in public. If someone in your family or with whom you have a relationship is threatening your life or safety – or your children’s – you have the right to take legal action against them.

Sometimes, with high-conflict or contested divorces, marital disputes get heated. And in some cases, if not dealt with early, these disputes can spiral into domestic violence. According to numbers from the state of Tennessee, 2018 saw 73,568 recorded reports of domestic assault. Most domestic violence victims are women, but men, children, and people of any gender can suffer physical abuse in a relationship.

At Shepherd & Long, our experienced Maryland domestic violence lawyers have the dedication and compassion you deserve exactly when you need it. Our one and only priority is protecting the safety of you and your children during your East Tennessee divorce or separation. If you need an order of protection, read on to learn more about how we can help.

What is an order of protection in Tennessee?

Orders of protection, sometimes called restraining orders, protect you from violence or threats of violence from people with whom you’re in a relationship. “Violence” can mean physical harm, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and any other type of abuse or threat of abuse that you feel puts your life in danger. This also includes the life of your child or children. Here in Maryville and throughout Tennessee, you can petition for an order of protection directly, or have one of our domestic violence attorneys do it for you.

An order of protection can give you temporary and emergency custody of your children and pets, as well as temporary child support. It also forces the respondent to leave your shared residence and stop all abusive and harassing behavior or face criminal penalties. This means they can’t come within a certain distance of you, call you, text you, message you on social media, visit you at work, or contact you through a third party. An order of protection also requires the respondent to surrender their firearms while the order is in effect.

Who can get an order of protection in Tennessee?

According to the TN criminal code, to get an order of protection for domestic assault, you must have an existing relationship with your abuser. People in the following types of relationships may seek an order of protection for domestic violence:

  • Blood relatives or relatives related through adoption
  • Current and former roommates
  • Current and former spouses
  • Relatives through marriage
  • Those in current or former dating relationships
  • Children of any of the parties mentioned above

Either a minor or an adult can seek an order of protection. Talk to the family law attorneys at Shepherd & Long to find out how to file an order on behalf of your child.

What are a TPO and an EPO? What’s the difference?

There are two types of protective orders in Tennessee: temporary protection orders (TPOs) and extended protection orders (EPOs).

  • Temporary protection orders. You might also hear the court or your attorney refer to a TPO as an “ex parte” order. These are short-term orders that last 15 days or until a full hearing for an EPO. The court can grant a TPO without an abuser’s knowledge and without them needing to be in court. You can also ask for an EPO at the same time you request a TPO.
  • Extended protection orders. The court issues an EPO after a full hearing, where the accused is allowed to appear in court in their own defense. If granted an EPO, you gain protection for a longer period than a TPO (up to a year) and you have wider protections. When an EPO is set to expire, you can request an extension.

How do I drop a Tennessee order of protection?

After you file for an order of protection, you cannot drop it or take it back until after the respondent is served. Then, you must file a Request to Cancel with the order of protection office, which will give you a court date, where both parties will appear at a hearing. Note, however, if there are criminal charges pending against your abuser, it may be more difficult to have a TPO or EPO dropped.

Our Maryville domestic violence attorneys can help you determine whether removing an order of protection is in your family’s best interests.

How do domestic violence matters affect child custody?

If you and your partner have children, matters of domestic violence can come into play when deciding child custody and visitation. You will likely be awarded primary custody if the other parent is a legitimate threat to your child’s safety and well-being – meaning they cannot have any input into important decisions about your child’s life, like schooling, medical, and religious choices. In some cases, the parent might be granted supervised visitation. The court only allows this if it’s in the best interest of the child. The attorneys at Shepherd & Long fight hard to ensure your child’s safety.

Domestic Violence Resources And Help In Blount County And East Tennessee

We’ve collected some links and resources if you and your family are experiencing domestic violence and need help. Our attorneys are also here to consult with you when you need us.

Can I get a restraining order to protect my property in Maryville?

Yes, you can. In Tennessee, you can use a restraining order or TPO to protect yourself in the event your spouse is hiding or destroying marital property during a divorce. The court can also issue a restraining order to prevent a parent from removing a child from the county or state, or to prevent a child from having contact with certain risky individuals.

Skilled Maryville Order of Protection Attorneys

Orders of protection and domestic violence are extremely serious matters, especially when you’re dealing with family. With the attorneys at Shepherd & Long on your side, you can be assured of your safety and the safety of your children during your Tennessee divorce or separation. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call us at 865-383-3118 or fill out our contact form. We regularly represent clients in Madisonville, Oak Ridge, Lenoir City and throughout East Tennessee.