In Tennessee, you can ask for dismissal of an existing order of protection by filing a simple one-page form with the county clerk for your jurisdiction. There is no charge.
Orders of Protection
An order of protection, also called a restraining order, is a judicial order prohibiting the respondent – the party you're seeking to restrain – from engaging in harmful or illegal conduct against you. It is used most often in family courts to protect you, the petitioner, and your children from being harassed, physically abused or damaged in any way by the respondent. A typical order of protection may require the respondent to limit or avoid contact entirely with the petitioner. In some instances, the order may require the respondent to keep some specified distance from your residence, workplace or your children's school.
In Tennessee, these orders can be dismissed only by a subsequent order issued by the judge or chancellor who signed the initial order. A chancellor is another name for certain Tennessee court judges who are empowered to act informally to resolve issues in court.
Petition to Dismiss an Order of Protection
The procedure for obtaining a dismissal of an existing order of protection in Tennessee begins with filling out the dismissal form provided by the Tennessee courts. You can get a copy from TNCourt.gov.
When filling out the dismissal form, do not fill in the section that begins "The Court Hereby Finds," which the trial judge will fill in after the hearing. You'll note that this section has areas where the judge may assign the costs of the dismissal order to either the petitioner or respondent. These charges apply only if the judge finds that the original order was petitioned for without cause – in other words, if your initial allegations were false. Otherwise, filing for an order of protection or a later dismissal of that petition does not result in court costs for the petitioner.
After filling out the form, file it with the county clerk's office in your county. If you need additional help in filling out the form or filing it, you can get assistance from Tennessee's Legal Aid Society. Their website also provides specific online instructions by county.
Sometimes in domestic abuse cases, the responding party may attempt to coerce the petitioning party to dismiss an order of protection. If this applies to you, notify the court. If you are concerned about the behavior of the respondent after you both leave the hearing, let the judge know about that also.
If the respondent suggests that the order of protection can be dismissed simply by both of you failing to show up in court, this could be a trap. While it is true this results in dismissal, it also means that if the responding party does show up and you don't, his arguments will prevail. This can result in an order of protection being filed against you or with your being charged court costs for filing a false claim.