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How is child custody affected if my ex-spouse files a protective order?

When the relationship between two parents sours both may say or do things they later regret. Parents who are going through a break-up or divorce are left to not only deal with their own heartbreak and disappointment, but also the hurt and heartbreak of a shared child.

While both parents should make every effort to remain civil towards one another and learn to effectively communicate for the sake of a shared child, at times parents may falter. In cases where a parent learns that he or she is the target of a protection order, it's important to take steps to address the matter in court.

In Tennessee, an individual can obtain a protective order against a spouse, ex-spouse or someone with whom an individual previously lived or had a sexual relationship. An Order for Protection may be granted in cases where a parent alleges abuse, stalking or threats of physical or sexual abuse.

In cases where two parents are going through a break-up or divorce, the issuance of an Order for Protection can seriously impact child custody matters. It's important, therefore that individuals who have been provided with notice that an ex is petitioning for an Order for Protection secure an attorney.

Prior to the issuing of a formal Order for Protection, a legal proceeding called a hearing must take place. At this hearing, an attorney who handles domestic violence matters can help defend against accusations and assist in helping procure a favorable outcome with regard to access to a shared child.

Source:, "Protection Orders for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking," 2014

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