93-21-7. Petitions alleging abuse; expedited proceedings; filing; costs; emergency relief
(1) Any person may seek a domestic abuse protection order for himself by filing a petition alleging abuse by the respondent. Any parent, adult household member, or next friend of the abused person may seek a domestic abuse protection order on behalf of any minor children or any person alleged to be incompetent by filing a petition with the court alleging abuse by the respondent. Cases seeking relief under this chapter shall be priority cases on the court’s docket and the judge shall be immediately notified when a case is filed in order to provide for expedited proceedings.
(2) A petition seeking a domestic abuse protection order may be filed in any of the following courts: municipal, justice, county or chancery. A chancery court shall not prohibit the filing of a petition which does not seek emergency relief on the basis that the petitioner did not first seek or obtain temporary relief in another court. A petition requesting emergency relief pending a hearing shall not be filed in chancery court unless specifically permitted by the chancellor under the circumstances or as a separate pleading in an ongoing chancery action between the parties. Nothing in this section shall:
(a) Be construed to require consideration of emergency relief by a chancery court; or
(b) Preclude a chancery court from entering an order of emergency relief.
(3) The petitioner in any action brought pursuant to this chapter shall not bear the costs associated with its filing or the costs associated with the issuance or service of any notice of a hearing to the respondent, issuance or service of an order of protection on the respondent, or issuance or service of a warrant or witness subpoena. If the court finds that the petitioner is entitled to an order protecting the petitioner from abuse, the court shall be authorized to assess all costs including attorney’s fees of the proceedings to the respondent. The court may assess costs including attorney’s fees to the petitioner only if the allegations of abuse are determined to be without merit and the court finds that the petitioner is not a victim of abuse as defined by Section 93-21-3.