The purpose of an Order of Protection is to order an Abuser not to contact, harass, assault, stalk, or threaten you. You do not need an Attorney to file for an Order of Protection and there is no cost to do so.
Who can you get an Order of Protection against?
- Your past or present husband or wife,
- Your child's other parent,
- Someone you have lived with,
- Someone you have dated or had sex with,
- Someone who stalked you,
- Someone kin to you by blood or marriage or adoption,
- Someone who raped you or threatened to rape you.
Steps in filing for an Order of Protection
1) Go to the Family Safety Center at 1750 Madison Avenue, Suite 600, Memphis, TN 38103. The Family Safety
Center offers civil, criminal, social, and health services to Victims of Domestic Violence.
2) An employee with the Family Safety Center will assist you in completing a Petition which is needed to request
an Order of Protection. You must give specific details in the Petition (date and actions) of how the Abuser
hurt or threatened you. You are considered the Petitioner throughout this process because you are the
Party requesting the Order of the Protection and the Abuser is considered the Respondent because they are
the party answering to the allegations in the Petition. Any person who is under age must have a parent or
guardian file for the Order of Protection.
3) A Judge will review your Petition to decide if an Ex-parte Order of Protection (Temporary Order) is needed.
Ex-parte Orders are granted immediately and are in effect until the Judge holds a Hearing. These Orders are
granted in the absence of the Abuser in emergency situations only. If the Ex-parte Order is granted, you
will receive a copy of the Order that you must keep with you at all times.
4) You will receive a Hearing date to come to Court so the Judge can consider whether a one year Order of
Protection will be granted.** The Respondent will be served with a Summons to appear in Court to present
testimony and/or evidence at the Hearing. The Respondent may retain an Attorney who will also be
present at the Hearing. If you want to retain an Attorney to speak on your behalf, you can do so, or if you
need more time to hire an Attorney, ask the Judge for more time. Be aware that if the Respondent does not
get served with a Summons because the Police aren't able to locate them for the Hearing, the Judge will not
grant the one year Order of Protection. However, if the Respondent is served with the Summons and does
not appear at the Hearing, the Protection Order will be granted provided you have sufficient evidence and/or
5) Prepare for your Hearing and bring any evidence you feel relevant such as text messages, phone messages,
police reports, medical records, or witnesses. If you don't have sufficient evidence, the Judge could stop
the Temporary Order and deny the one year Order of Protection. However, if the Judge feels you have
provided sufficient proof, he will grant an Order of Protection and you will receive a copy of the Judge's Final
Order to keep with you at all times.
6) If the Respondent contacts you after the granting of your Order of Protection, you can have them
arrested by contacting the Police and making a Report. Also, even if you don't get an Order of Protection
granted, you can still report any problems with this person to the Police. The important thing to do is to retain
all evidence of the abuse, as this will likely guarantee the granting of your request for an Order of Protection.
**If you don't appear at the Hearing your Petition will be dismissed and the Ex-parte Order of Protection will end. You can always refile should you feel the need to do so. You should not be ashamed or feel alone when facing this very traumatic situation, there are people available to help and provide assistance to you and your family.
This Blog is for information purposes only and should you find yourself in an abusive situation, consider that an emergency and immediately contact the Police Department's emergency 9-1-1 number. Also, you can contact the Family Safety Center at 901-222-4400 for guidance and help after your emergency situation is resolved.
For a Free Consultation, please contact Tawanda Williams Law Office, PLLC at 901-206-8200.