Can a minor get a protection order?
Tennessee law says that minors, which is someone 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, the minor’s parent or legal guardian needs to sign the paperwork that gets filed in court. A caseworker at a non-profit organization for child abuse and family violence can also sign the paperwork for a minor. However, if the caseworker signs it, the petition cannot be filed against the minor’s parent or guardian and the minor’s parents will receive copies of any paperwork filed with the court, unless a judge determines that doing would be seriously harmful to the minor. Note: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, either ot them can file the petition on behalf of the minor.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)