Asked in Domestic Violence and Family Law for Tennessee

Q: What kinds of documents or proof do I need to prove I’m in fear of my child’s father abusing him?

I have a temporary OP and need to know what I need to have with me at court to get the permanent OP granted. My son’s father is extremely abusive towards women and has been for 15+ years. I didn’t think he would abuse my son until he came home the other day from his house and went to school and began hurting himself and lashing out. When I asked what was wrong; he told me his dad hit him in the face. From my own experience with his abuse, I know that it will only get worse from here once it’s started. I want to protect my son but his dad is the type of person that gets away with everything. I need to know how I can prove what I know and fear.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: Given these facts, you should get your child into counseling. Unfortunately, it is unlikely you would be able to get the counselor to testify regarding his or her notes, given the short period between getting a temporary protection order and a full hearing on the merits. School records, previous convictions where you are the victim or your child is the victim, and anything that tends to prove what you allege are useful documents. Your challenge is going to be getting the court to admit these documents if the author isn't present (documents are presumptively hearsay, as they are declarations originally made out of court that you wish to use to prove a matter you are asserting). Your best bet is to hire an attorney. If you cannot do that, you need to read up on the rules of evidence (especially the 400 series and the 800 series that refer to relevance and hearsay respectively).

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