Whether you are divorcing your spouse because they have been abusive towards you or your children, or the abusive behavior started as the divorce has progressed, you have the right to feel safe in your own home. There are laws to protect you if you or your children are being abused by your spouse or other family member in your home. Under Tennessee law you can obtain an Order of Protection to keep the abuser away from you and your children.
Types of protection orders
Your Tennessee divorce attorney can help you obtain a temporary protective order until a court hearing can take place with both sides present. A temporary protection order can keep the abuser from calling you or communicating with you in any way, whether directly or indirectly. The abuser will not be permitted to come near you, enter the house you shared, or have access to the children or pets that live in the household with you.
After a court hearing an extended protection order, which is good for one year, can be issued by the court. This order can be extended another year if necessary along with other provisions listed in the law.
An extended protection order can provide you with everything mentioned above and possession of the home while ordering the abuser to leave the home, directing the abuser to provide your with housing if they are the sole owner of the home, give them temporary visitation rights to any children born to or adopted by the two of you, and mandate a counseling program to address the violence and any substance abuse issues.
Your spouse’s history of domestic violence will have an impact on the court’s decisions about child custody especially if the child was being abused by your spouse. The court may consider supervised visitation where the other parent meets with the child in a safe environment where the visit will be observed by another adult.
Taking the next steps
If you are in a situation where you are being abused and harmed physically by your spouse, call the Nashville Police Department’s Domestic Violence Division. Their entire job is to protect you and your loved ones both in the immediate moments and in the future. There are also a number of support groups you can join in the area, including:
- YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee
- The Mary Parrish Center For Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence
- Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
Attempting to file for a divorce from a spouse who is hurting you or your children can be a frightening thing. We are here to help protect your right to feel safe in your own home and as you move through the divorce process. We invite you to speak with our Nashville divorce attorneys to discuss your needs confidentially in a safe and secure setting. Please contact the compassionate legal team at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC to learn more about our divorce legal services.
Karla C. Miller has devoted her entire career to the practice of family law in Tennessee. She attended Auburn University and Nashville School of Law, and upon graduation in 1996, she opened her own law firm and has been assisting families throughout Tennessee since then. Learn more about Karla C. Miller here.