Rhea County Courthouse, Dayton
Victims should call one
of the organizations below before filing a petition for an Order of Protection:
THE PARTNERSHIP (formerly known
Family and Children’s Services)
P.O. Box 6234
Chattanooga, TN 37401
423-755-2700 (Hamilton and
AVALON CENTER (formerly
P.O. Box 3063
Crossville, TN 38557
800-641-3434 (Bledsoe and Rhea Counties)
704 W. Madison Ave
Athens, TN 37303
423-745-5289 (McMinn and Meigs
HARBOR SAFE HOUSE
485 Second Street, SE
Cleveland, TN 37311
423-476-9339 (Bradley and Polk
P.O. Box 134
Alcoa, TN 37701
865-982-1087 (Monroe County)
FAMILIES IN CRISIS, INC.
P.O. Box 621
McMinnville, TN 37110
the organization, then go to the clerk's office and complete the petition by
following these instructions:
Use specific instances not
general statements. Be as complete as possible.
Example: don’t say he or she verbally and emotionally abused me for months.
Instead, cite every occasion by date, the words and gestures used, the fear
caused, the witnesses present, etc. Use multiple pages if necessary. Reason:
judges may not allow evidence of prior abuse if the defendant is not
given notice in the petition about what he must defend against, instance by
Don’t wait to file the petition
until a divorce proceeding has started or is imminent.
Judges may then think that the
Order of Protection proceedings are being used only for the purpose of
enhancing your position in the divorce negotiations.
Be aware that following others’
advice to reconcile can be used against you.
Judges ask: why did you go back to live with a man or woman who was trying to
Ask for all relief that is truly
needed. Judges often view
Orders of Protection as impermissible “quickie divorces” and thus will not
grant certain relief discussed below. But, when there is real need and no
prospect of satisfactory immediate relief in divorce proceedings, you should
ask for (1) temporary custody of children, (2) child support, (3) alimony, and
(4) exclusive possession of the residence.
Are you willing to accept a
restraining order? This
could be one that applies to both of you (a mutual restraining order) or one
that is against the other spouse or partner only. While we do
usually advocate their use, they may be the best alternatives under some
circumstances: (1) key witnesses are not available, (2) your spouse or partner
may lose a job that can not easily be replaced, or (3) you and your spouse or
partner are not likely to come into contact anyway.
If you are willing to accept the
restraining order, tell the judge or the lawyer for the defendant, not the
clerk when you file the petition.
Ask us or another lawyer if you
need advice on these key points.
Petition for an Order of Protection
can be downloaded from this website before you go to the clerk's office.
To prepare for the hearing before the judge, obtain the following
if they are relevant and if they are available:
Photographs showing your injuries.|
Police reports related to the incident.|
The names and phone numbers of people who are willing to be
(Make sure they will be present at the hearing.)|
Medical records related to any injuries caused during the
incident or any past incidents of domestic violence between the abuser and
on this website.
Complete it before the hearing.|
Child Custody Questionnaire
on this website.
before the hearing.|
The name of the lawyer for your abuser.|
The names of any witnesses your abuser may ask to testify.|
Your abuser’s criminal record
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website has been supported by grants awarded by the
Violence Against Women Grants Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S.
Department of Justice and a sub-grant from the Office of Criminal Justice Programs, State of
Tennessee. Points of view in this website are those of the author and do
not necessarily represent the official position or policies of either
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