Am I eligible to file for a protection order?
Protection orders in Tennessee are designed to protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
If anyone has stalked you or sexually assaulted you, you can ask the court for a protection order against that person, regardless of your relationship to him/her. If someone has abused you (committed domestic abuse), you need to have a specific relationship with him/her to get a protection order. You can only seek a protection order because of domestic abuse if the abuser is:
- your spouse or ex-spouse;
- someone you live with or used to live with;
- anyone you are dating or used to date;
- anyone you are having a sexual relationship with or used to have a sexual relationship with;
- a same-sex partner you've lived with, dated, or had a sexual relationship with;
- anyone you are related to by blood or adoption; or
- anyone you are related to by marriage or used to be related to by marriage.1
Note: You can also qualify as a victim of domestic abuse if you are the child of someone in any of the above relationships (regardless of if you are a minor or an adult) and you are being abused.2
In addition, a law enforcement officer who responds to an incident of domestic abuse can file for an ex parte order on your behalf if s/he believes that you are in immediate and present danger of abuse -- even if no arrest is made. You must consent in writing to allow the officer to file for you. The officer can file for the order even when the courts are closed.3
1 TN ST § 36-3-601(5)
2 TN ST § 36-3-601(5)(F)
3 TN ST § 36-3-619(h)