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Knoxville Domestic Violence Attorney

Resolving Domestic Violence Issues in Tennessee Divorce & Other Circumstances

On average over 75, 000 cases of domestic violence are reported in Tennessee each year, and Tennessee is among the leading states having the highest rates of domestic-related homicides against women. Domestic violence is a very real problem, and it is one that intersects both criminal law and family law in many ways. With decades of experience in law enforcement, criminal law and family law, Knoxville attorney Patrick L. Looper is well-versed in the law surrounding domestic violence and how it may affect a Tennessee divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter. Call Knoxville domestic violence attorney Patrick L. Looper for assistance with family law domestic violence issues.

Domestic Violence and Divorce

Domestic violence within a marriage can be a cause that leads to divorce. Even where domestic violence was not present in a marriage, it sometimes occurs for the first time in the period leading up to a divorce or when divorce proceedings are underway and emotions get heated. As a fault-based ground, domestic violence is one of the few grounds for divorce which can impact the decision of child custody in a Tennessee divorce. Attorney Patrick Looper deals with domestic violence issues in divorce as appropriate, including defending clients against unfounded yet damaging accusations in a divorce or child custody dispute.

Domestic Violence under Tennessee Law

Domestic violence is not only limited to marriage or divorce situations. Domestic violence can be committed on unmarried partners or others under Tennessee’s broad definition of domestic violence. Domestic abuse under Tennessee law occurs when there is an assault, abuse or stalking committed on any of the following:

  • A current or former spouse
  • Someone the person is living with or lived with
  • Someone the person is dating or dated or is having or had a sexual relationship with
  • A blood relative, adoptive relative or a current or former relative by marriage
  • A child of any of the above

An assault can include: an intentional, knowing or reckless bodily injury; putting someone in reasonable fear of imminent injury; or causing an extremely offensive or provocative bodily contact. The crime of domestic assault may also include other crimes such as child abuse or neglect, sexual battery, rape or stalking. Domestic abuse can include causing physical injury or putting someone in fear of physical harm, as well as restraining a person or causing malicious damage to someone’s personal property or their pet.

A victim of domestic abuse can obtain an order of protection from the court for the safety of the victim and the victim’s children. An order of protection is typically good for up to a year but can last up to five years if it is violated once or ten years if it is violated twice. A victim can also ask for the order of protection to be extended for an additional year beyond the one year duration. This request should be made before the original order expires.

An order of protection can be useful in many ways to protect the victim and children. An order of protection can do any of the following, for instance:

Require the abuser to keep from having any contact with you or any minor children protected under the order

  • Decide the custody of the children
  • Order the payment of child support or spousal support
  • Give possession of the home/residence to the victim and order the abuser to move out
  • Order the abuser to give up possession of firearms while the order is in effect

After a temporary protective order is put in place, the court should hold a hearing within 15 days to decide whether to extend that order for up to a year. The person subject to the order has a right to appear at this hearing with legal counsel and oppose the order. If you are seeking an order or challenging an order against you, Patrick L. Looper can represent you in any court hearings and advise you on how a domestic violence proceeding may impact your divorce, child custody case or other family law matter.

Knoxville Domestic Violence Family Law Attorney

If you have been the victim of domestic violence or are in fear of imminent abuse, contact the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence to locate help in your area, or call 9-1-1 in an emergency. For guidance and help with any Knoxville domestic violence family law matter, contact Patrick L. Looper, Attorney at Law, for a no-cost, confidential consultation.

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