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Tennessee Protective Orders Laws

Protective orders, also called "orders of protection" or "restraining orders," are issued by judges and require a named individual to stay a certain distance away from the person filing for protection. Typically, these are temporary but may be extended or even made permanent in some situations. Protective orders are issued in instances of abuse, threats, stalking, or other situations that cause someone to fear for their safety. Usually, these are issued in relation to domestic violence cases.

In Tennessee, protective orders remain effective for one year but may be modified as the court sees fit. Tennessee courts allow victims of abuse by present or former adult family or household members to apply for protective orders.

This article provides a brief overview of protective orders in the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee Protective Orders: At a Glance

Learn more about Tennessee's protective order laws in the following section. See FindLaw's Domestic Violence section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section

§ 36-3-601 et seq. of the Tennessee Code

Activity Addressed by Order

Enjoin contact; directing the respondent to refrain from committing domestic abuse, stalking, sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual assault, or a human trafficking offense or threatening to commit domestic abuse, stalking, sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual assault, or a human trafficking offense against the petitioner or the petitioner's minor children; prohibiting the respondent from coming about the petitioner for any purpose, from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly; prohibiting the respondent from stalking the petitioner; granting to the petitioner possession of the residence or household to the exclusion of the respondent by evicting the respondent, by restoring possession to the petitioner, or by both; directing the respondent to provide suitable alternate housing for the petitioner when the respondent is the sole owner or lessee of the residence or household; awarding temporary custody of, or establishing temporary visitation rights with regard to, any minor children born to or adopted by the parties; awarding financial support to the petitioner and such persons as the respondent has a duty to support; directing the respondent to attend available counseling programs that address violence and control issues or substance abuse problems; directing the care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor residing in the household. In no instance shall the animal be placed in the care, custody, or control of the respondent, but shall instead be placed in the care, custody, or control of the petitioner or in an appropriate animal foster situation; directing the respondent to immediately and temporarily vacate a residence shared with the petitioner, pending a hearing on the matter, notwithstanding any provision of this part to the contrary; directing the respondent to pay the petitioner all costs, expenses, and fees pertaining to the petitioner's breach of a lease or rental agreement for the residential property if the petitioner is a party to the lease or rental agreement and if the court finds that continuing to reside in the rented or leased premises may jeopardize the life, health, and safety of the petitioner or the petitioner's children

Duration of Order

Protective order effective for one year, or court of divorce action modifies, dissolves, or renews it

Penalty for a Violation of Order

Civil or criminal contempt

Who May Apply for Order

Victim of abuse by present or former adult family or household member, if filed by a minor then a parent or guardian signature needed; stalking victim or sexual assault victim; "household member" means adults or minors who are current or former spouses; adults or minors who live together or who have lived together; adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship; adults or minors related by blood or adoption; adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage

Can Fees Be Waived?

There is no filing fee in Tennessee

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

Copy to local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the area where the petitioner resides

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Yes, contempt of court

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Tennessee Protective Orders Laws: Related Resources

Get Help with a Protective Order Today

If someone is hurting or threatening to hurt you, there are resources available for you when you're ready. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for 24/7/365 support at 800-799-7233. If you've been abused or fear someone may abuse you in the near future, you may want to get a protective order.

Please contact a Tennessee domestic violence attorney for help.

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