Am I eligible if I'm a minor?
Tennessee law says that minors (most people under 18)1 can get a protection order, but there are some special rules.
First, minors have to meet the same eligibility requirements as adults. In other words, a minor must be the victim of domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault to qualify for a protection order - see Am I eligible to file for a protection order? for more information.
Second, one of your parents or your legal guardian needs to sign your paperwork for you before you turn it into the court. A caseworker at a non-profit organization for child abuse and family violence can also sign your paperwork. However, if the caseworker signs it, the petition cannot be filed against your parent or guardian and your parents will receive copies of any paperwork you filed with the court, unless a judge determines that doing would be seriously harmful to you.2
In cases before the juvenile court where the Department of Children’s Services is a party or where a guardian ad litem has been appointed for the child by the juvenile court, the petition may be filed on behalf of the minor by the Department or the guardian ad litem.2
For more information, you may want to speak with a local domestic abuse program for help. To find an advocate at a local program, please visit the TN Advocates and Shelters page.
1 TN ST § 36-3-601(2)
2 TN ST § 36-3-602(b)