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Tennessee

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 36. Domestic Relations. Chapter 3. Marriage. Part 6. Domestic Abuse.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: T. C. A. 36-3-601 - 606

Citation: TN ST 36-3-601 - 606


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 11/2013

Summary:   Under Tennessee's Domestic Abuse, the definitional section states that "abuse" includes inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an adult or minor. Section 606(9) allows the court to direct the care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor residing in the household. Further, in no instance shall the animal be placed in the care, custody, or control of the respondent, but shall instead be placed in the care, custody or control of the petitioner or in an appropriate animal foster situation.


Statute in Full:

 § 36-3-601. Definitions
 
 § 36-3-602. Petitions; persons who may seek relief

 § 36-3-603. Protection orders; duration

 § 36-3-604. Forms; order of protection

 § 36-3-605. Protection orders; hearing; extension; modification

 § 36-3-606. Protection orders; contents

 

 

§ 36-3-601. Definitions

As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Abuse” means inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on an adult or minor by other than accidental means, placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm, physical restraint, malicious damage to the personal property of the abused party, including inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an adult or minor, or placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the adult or minor;

(2) “Adult” means any person eighteen (18) years of age or older, or who is otherwise emancipated;

(3)(A) “Court,” in counties having a population of not less than two hundred thousand (200,000) nor more than eight hundred thousand (800,000), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relation matters;

(B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A), “court,” in counties with a metropolitan form of government with a population of more than one hundred thousand (100,000), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relation matters and the general sessions court. In such county having a metropolitan form of government, a judicial commissioner may issue an ex parte order of protection. Nothing in this definition may be construed to grant jurisdiction to the general sessions court for matters relating to child custody, visitation, or support;

(C) “Court,” in all other counties, means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relation matters or the general sessions court;

(D) “Court” also includes judicial commissioners, magistrates and other officials with the authority to issue an arrest warrant in the absence of a judge for purposes of issuing ex parte orders of protection when a judge of one of the courts listed in subdivisions (3)(A), (3)(B) or (3)(C) is not available;

(E) In counties having a population in excess of eight hundred thousand (800,000), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, “court” means any court of record with jurisdiction over domestic relations matters or the general sessions criminal court. In such counties, “court” also includes judicial commissioners, magistrates and other officials with the authority to issue an arrest warrant in the absence of a judge for purposes of issuing any order of protection pursuant to this part when a judge of one (1) of the courts listed in subdivisions (3)(A), (3)(B) or (3)(C) is not available. Nothing in this definition may be construed to grant jurisdiction to the general sessions court, both criminal and civil, for matters relating to child custody, visitation, or support;

(F) Any appeal from a final ruling on an order of protection by a general sessions court or by any official authorized to issue an order of protection under this subdivision (3) shall be to the circuit or chancery court of the county. Such appeal shall be filed within ten (10) days and shall be heard de novo;

(4) “Domestic abuse” means committing abuse against a victim, as defined in subdivision (5);

(5) “Domestic abuse victim” means any person who falls within the following categories:

(A) Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;

(B) Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together;

(C) Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship, [as used herein “dating” and “dated” do not include fraternization between two (2) individuals in a business or social context];

(D) Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;

(E) Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or

(F) Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in subdivisions (5)(A)-(E);

(6) “Firearm” means any weapon designed, made or adapted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or any device readily convertible to that use;

(7) “Petitioner” means the person alleging domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking in a petition for an order for protection;

(8) “Preferred response” means law enforcement officers shall arrest a person committing domestic abuse unless there is a clear and compelling reason not to arrest;

(9) “Respondent” means the person alleged to have abused, stalked or sexually assaulted another in a petition for an order for protection;

(10) “Sexual assault victim” means any person, regardless of the relationship with the perpetrator, who has been subjected to, threatened with, or placed in fear of any form of rape, as defined in §§ 39-13-502, 39-13-503, 39-13-506 or 39-13-522, or sexual battery, as defined in §§ 39-13-504, 39-13-505, or 39-13-527;

(11) “Stalking victim” means any person, regardless of the relationship with the perpetrator, who has been subjected to, threatened with, or placed in fear of the offense of stalking, as defined in § 39-17-315; and

(12) “Weapon” means a firearm or a device listed in § 39-17-1302(a)(1)-(7).

CREDIT(S)

1979 Pub.Acts, c. 350, § 1; 1988 Pub.Acts, c. 925, §§ 1, 2; 1991 Pub.Acts, c. 380, § 1; 1994 Pub.Acts, c. 764, § 1, eff. April 14, 1994; 1995 Pub.Acts, c. 507, § 3, eff. July 1, 1995; 1996 Pub.Acts, c. 684, § 1, eff. March 29, 1996; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 96, § 1, eff. April 16, 1997; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 211, § 1, eff. May 13, 1997; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 459, §§ 1, 2, eff. June 13, 1997; 1998 Pub.Acts, c. 887, § 1, 2, eff. May 6, 1998; 2001 Pub.Acts, c. 96, §§ 1 to 3, eff. July 1, 2001; 2002 Pub.Acts, c. 646, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 1, 2002; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 381, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 1, 2005; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 348, § 1, eff. June 5, 2007; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 352, § 1.


§ 36-3-602. Petitions; persons who may seek relief

(a) Any domestic abuse victim, stalking victim or sexual assault victim who has been subjected to, threatened with, or placed in fear of, domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault, may seek a relief under this part by filing a sworn petition alleging domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault by the respondent.

(b) Any petition filed by an unemancipated person under eighteen (18) years of age shall be signed by one (1) of that person's parents or by that person's guardian. The petition may also be signed by a caseworker at a not-for-profit organization that receives funds pursuant to title 71, chapter 6, part 2 for family violence and child abuse prevention and shelters; provided, however, that a petition signed by a caseworker may not be filed against the unemancipated minor's parent or legal guardian. In such case, unless the court finds that the action would create a threat of serious harm to the minor, a copy of the petition, notice of hearing and any ex parte order of protection shall also be served on the parents of the minor child, or if the parents are not living together and jointly caring for the child, upon the primary residential parent. 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 by the juvenile court, the petition may be filed on behalf of the unemancipated person by the department or the guardian ad litem.

(c) Venue for a petition for an order of protection, and all other matters relating to orders of protection, shall be in the county where the respondent resides or the county in which the domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault occurred. If the respondent is not a resident of Tennessee, the petition may be filed in the county where the petitioner resides.

CREDIT(S)

1979 Pub.Acts, c. 350, §§ 3, 16; 1987 Pub.Acts, c. 270, § 1; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 211, § 2, eff. May 13, 1997; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 459, § 2, eff. June 13, 1997; 2002 Pub.Acts, c. 646, § 3, eff. July 1, 2002; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 75, § 2, eff. April 18, 2005; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 257, § 1, eff. May 28, 2005; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 381, § 3, eff. July 1, 2005; 2006 Pub.Acts, c. 871, § 1, eff. June 5, 2006; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 348, § 2, eff. June 5, 2007.

 

§ 36-3-603. Protection orders; duration

(a) If an order of protection is ordered by a court and either the petitioner or respondent files a complaint for divorce, the order of protection shall remain in effect until the court in which the divorce action lies modifies or dissolves the order.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a petitioner from requesting relief under this section in a divorce action.

CREDIT(S)

1979 Pub.Acts, c. 350, § 2; 1986 Pub.Acts, c. 715, § 1.

 

§ 36-3-604. Forms; order of protection

(a)(1) The office of the clerk of court shall provide forms that may be necessary to seek a protection order under this part. These forms shall be limited to use in causes filed under this part and they shall be made available to all who request assistance in filing a petition. The clerk may obtain the most current forms by printing them from the web site of the administrative office of the courts.

(2) The petitioner is not limited to the use of these forms and may present to the court any legally sufficient petition in whatever form. The office of the clerk shall also assist a person who is not represented by counsel by filling in the name of the court on the petition, by indicating where the petitioner's name shall be filled in, by reading through the petition form with the petitioner, and by rendering any other assistance that is necessary for the filing of the petition. All such petitions that are filed pro se shall be liberally construed procedurally in favor of the petitioner.

(b) The administrative office of the courts, in consultation with the domestic violence coordinating council, shall develop a petition for orders of protection form, an amended order of protection form, an ex parte order of protection form and other forms that are found to be necessary and advisable. These forms shall be revised as the laws relative to orders of protection and ex parte orders of protection are amended by the general assembly. To the extent possible, the forms shall be uniform with those promulgated by surrounding states so that Tennessee forms may be afforded full faith and credit.

(c) The administrative office of the courts shall revise the petition for an order of protection form to fully advise the respondent of this part in language substantially similar to the following:

(1) If the order of protection is granted in a manner that fully complies with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), the respondent is required to terminate physical possession by any lawful means, such as transferring possession to a third party who is not prohibited from possessing firearms, of all firearms that the respondent possesses within forty-eight (48) hours of the granting of the order;

(2) It is a criminal offense for a person subject to an order of protection that fully complies with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), to possess a firearm while that order is in effect; and

(3) The issuance of an order of protection may terminate or, at least, suspend the individual's right to purchase or possess a firearm.

(d) These forms shall be used exclusively in all courts exercising jurisdiction over orders of protection.

CREDIT(S)

1979 Pub.Acts, c. 350, § 4; 1982 Pub.Acts, c. 935, § 1; 1987 Pub.Acts, c. 270, §§ 2 to 5; 1995 Pub.Acts, c. 410, § 2, eff. July 1, 1995; 1995 Pub.Acts, c. 456, § 6; 1996 Pub.Acts, c. 684, § 5, eff. March 29, 1996; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 211, § 3, eff. May 13, 1997; 1998 Pub.Acts, c. 715, § 1, eff. April 8, 1998; 1999 Pub.Acts, c. 344, § 3; 2000 Pub.Acts, c. 638, § 2, eff. April 10, 2000; 2001 Pub.Acts, c. 319, § 1, eff. May 30, 2001; 2009 Pub.Acts, c. 455, § 1, eff. July 1, 2009; 2010 Pub.Acts, c. 959, § 2, eff. July 1, 2010.

 

§ 36-3-605. Protection orders; hearing; extension; modification

(a) Upon the filing of a petition under this part, the courts may immediately, for good cause shown, issue an ex parte order of protection. An immediate and present danger of abuse to the petitioner shall constitute good cause for purposes of this section.

(b) Within fifteen (15) days of service of such order on the respondent under this part, a hearing shall be held, at which time the court shall either dissolve any ex parte order that has been issued, or shall, if the petitioner has proved the allegation of domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault by a preponderance of the evidence, extend the order of protection for a definite period of time, not to exceed one (1) year, unless a further hearing on the continuation of such order is requested by the respondent or the petitioner; in which case, on proper showing of cause, such order may be continued for a further definite period of one (1) year, after which time a further hearing must be held for any subsequent one-year period. Any ex parte order of protection shall be in effect until the time of the hearing, and, if the hearing is held within fifteen (15) days of service of such order, the ex parte order shall continue in effect until the entry of any subsequent order of protection issued pursuant to § 36-3-609. If no ex parte order of protection has been issued as of the time of the hearing, and the petitioner has proven the allegation of domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault by a preponderance of the evidence, the court may, at that time, issue an order of protection for a definite period of time, not to exceed one (1) year.

(c) The court shall cause a copy of the petition and notice of the date set for the hearing on such petition, as well as a copy of any ex parte order of protection, to be served upon the respondent at least five (5) days prior to such hearing. An ex parte order issued pursuant to this part shall be personally served upon the respondent. However, if the respondent is not a resident of Tennessee, the ex parte order shall be served pursuant to §§ 20-2-215 and 20-2-216. Such notice shall advise the respondent that the respondent may be represented by counsel. In every case, unless the court finds that the action would create a threat of serious harm to the minor, when a petitioner is under eighteen (18) years of age, a copy of the petition, notice of hearing and any ex parte order of protection shall also be served on the parents of the minor child, or in the event that the parents are not living together and jointly caring for the child, upon the primary residential parent, pursuant to the requirements of this section.

(d) Within the time the order of protection is in effect, any court of competent jurisdiction may modify the order of protection, either upon the court's own motion or upon motion of the petitioner. If a respondent is properly served and afforded the opportunity for a hearing pursuant to § 36-3-612, and is found to be in violation of the order, the court may extend the order of protection up to five (5) years. If a respondent is properly served and afforded the opportunity for a hearing pursuant to § 36-3-612, and is found to be in a second or subsequent violation of the order, the court may extend the order of protection up to ten (10) years. No new petition is required to be filed in order for a court to modify an order or extend an order pursuant to this subsection (d).

CREDIT(S)

1979 Pub.Acts, c. 350, § 5; 1987 Pub.Acts, c. 270, § 6; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 459, §§ 2, 4, 5, eff. June 13, 1997; 1998 Pub.Acts, c. 715, § 2, eff. April 8, 1998; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 588, § 2; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 75, § 1, eff. April 18, 2005; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 381, § 4, eff. July 1, 2005; 2006 Pub.Acts, c. 676, § 1, eff. July 1, 2006; 2006 Pub.Acts, c. 871, § 2, eff. June 5, 2006; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 348, § 4, eff. June 5, 2007.

 

§ 36-3-606. Protection orders; contents

(a) A protection order granted under this part to protect the petitioner from domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault may include, but is not limited to:

(1) Directing the respondent to refrain from committing domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault or threatening to commit domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault against the petitioner or the petitioner's minor children;

(2) Prohibiting the respondent from coming about the petitioner for any purpose, from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly;

(3) Prohibiting the respondent from stalking the petitioner, as defined in § 39-17-315;

(4) Granting to the petitioner possession of the residence or household to the exclusion of the respondent by evicting the respondent, by restoring possession to the petitioner, or by both;

(5) Directing the respondent to provide suitable alternate housing for the petitioner when the respondent is the sole owner or lessee of the residence or household;

(6) Awarding temporary custody of, or establishing temporary visitation rights with regard to, any minor children born to or adopted by the parties;

(7) Awarding financial support to the petitioner and such persons as the respondent has a duty to support. Except in cases of paternity, the court shall not have the authority to order financial support unless the petitioner and respondent are legally married. Such order may be enforced pursuant to chapter 5 of this title;

(8) Directing the respondent to attend available counseling programs that address violence and control issues or substance abuse problems. A violation of a protection order or part of such order that directs counseling pursuant to this subpart may be punished as criminal or civil contempt. The provisions of § 36-3-610(a) apply with respect to a non-lawyer general sessions judge who holds a person in criminal contempt for violating this subdivision (a)(8);

(9) Directing the care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor residing in the household. In no instance shall the animal be placed in the care, custody, or control of the respondent, but shall instead be placed in the care, custody or control of the petitioner or in an appropriate animal foster situation;

(10) Directing the respondent to immediately and temporarily vacate a residence shared with the petitioner, pending a hearing on the matter, notwithstanding any provision of this part to the contrary; or

(11) Directing the respondent to pay the petitioner all costs, expenses and fees pertaining to the petitioner's breach of a lease or rental agreement for residential property if the petitioner is a party to the lease or rental agreement and if the court finds that continuing to reside in the rented or leased premises may jeopardize the life, health and safety of the petitioner or the petitioner's children. Nothing in this subdivision (a)(11) shall be construed as altering the terms of, liability for, or parties to such lease or rental agreement.

(b) Relief granted pursuant to subdivisions (a)(4)-(8) shall be ordered only after the petitioner and respondent have been given an opportunity to be heard by the court.

(c) Any order of protection issued under this part shall include the statement of the maximum penalty that may be imposed pursuant to § 36-3-610 for violating such order.

(d) No order of protection made under this part shall in any manner affect title to any real property.

(e) If the petitioner is a victim as defined in § 36-3-601(10) or (11), the provisions of subdivisions (a)(4) and (5) shall not apply to such petitioner.

(f) An order of protection issued pursuant to this part shall be valid and enforceable in any county of this state.

(g) An order of protection issued pursuant to this part that fully complies with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) shall contain the disclosures set out in § 36-3-625(a).

CREDIT(S)

1979 Pub.Acts, c. 350, §§ 6 to 8; 1987 Pub.Acts, c. 270, §§ 7, 12; 1991 Pub.Acts, c. 380, § 4; 1995 Pub.Acts, c. 507, § 4, eff. July 1, 1995; 1996 Pub.Acts, c. 684, § 2, eff. March 29, 1996; 1996 Pub.Acts, c. 734, §§ 1, 2, eff. April 12, 1996; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 459, §§ 2, 3, eff. June 13, 1997; 2001 Pub.Acts, c. 352, § 2, eff. June 7, 2001; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 381, § 5, eff. July 1, 2005; 2007 Pub.Acts, c. 352, § 2; 2009 Pub.Acts, c. 455, § 2, eff. July 1, 2009; 2010 Pub.Acts, c. 959, § 1, eff. July 1, 2010; 2010 Pub.Acts, c. 981, § 1, eff. May 27, 2010; 2011 Pub.Acts, c. 253, § 1, eff. May 23, 2011; 2011 Pub.Acts, c. 402, § 2, eff. June 6, 2011.

 



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