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Legal Information: Tennessee

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 27, 2023

Can I get my out-of-state protection order enforced in Tennessee? What are the requirements?

Your out of state protection order can be enforced in Tennessee as long as each of the following are true:1

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.2
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.3

Note: Tennessee will not enforce a protection order if the court gave both you and your abuser a protection order based on your petition. However, if the abuser filed a separate petition (cross-petitioned) for a protection order against you, and the court made a finding of domestic violence against you, then both your order and the abuser’s order can be enforced in Tennessee.4

For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 TN ST § 36-3-622(b)(1), (i)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
3 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a), (b)
4 TN ST § 36-3-622(d)

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Tennessee?

Generally, only the state that issued your out-of-state (“foreign”) protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. To find out more information about how to change a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued.

If your order expires while you are living in Tennessee, you may be able to get a new one in Tennessee, but this may be difficult if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in the state. For more information on how to get a protective order in Tennessee, visit our TN Protection Orders page.

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order.  Will I still have temporary custody of my children in Tennessee?

As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 Tennessee can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area click here TN Finding a Lawyer.

1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.