What types of cases does the Court hear?
The Juvenile Court has jurisdiction of most legal matters involving children, including the following types of cases: delinquent, unruly, & truant children; parents charged with failing to cause children to attend school; juvenile traffic offenders; dependent, neglected, & abused children; child custody/guardianship & visitation rights; parentage (a.k.a. legitimation) of children born out of wedlock; child support; and termination of parental rights. This is not a complete list, as there are other less-common types of cases that the Court can hear.
Are there any cases involving children that the Court cannot hear?
The Juvenile Court does not have jurisdiction over the following matters: divorce cases; custody & visitation issues regarding children born during a marriage (unless the children fall into another category, such as delinquent or dependent/neglected, that gives the Court jurisdiction); and adoptions.
How do I file for custody, visitation, or child support?
You can file a Petition with the Juvenile Court Clerk's Office, 1710 S. Church Street, Suite 2, Murfreesboro, TN 37130. The Clerk will give you a Court date.
Which parent has legal custody of a child born out of wedlock before any Court hearings occur?
Absent an Order of custody to the contrary, custody of a child born out of wedlock is with the mother. T.C.A. § 36-2-303.
Can I talk to the Judge or Magistrate about my case?
No. Due to the ethical rules established by the Tennessee Supreme Court, Judges and Magistrates are not allowed to speak with people about their cases outside of the courtroom.
What is the difference between a Judge and a Magistrate?
The Judge is elected, and the Magistrates are appointed by the Judge. Magistrates have the authority to preside over any case over which the Court has jurisdiction; in the conduct of the proceedings, Magistrates have the same powers as Judges. T.C.A. § 37-1-107. Prior to May of 2009, Magistrates were called "Referees."
I disagree with the decision of the Judge or Magistrate. How can I file an appeal?
You can file an appeal at the Juvenile Court Clerk's office, 1710 S. Church Street, Suite 2, Murfreesboro, TN 37130. Please note that you do not have the absolute right to appeal certain preliminary rulings; however, all final rulings are appealable. Be aware that there are strict time limits for filing appeals (sometimes as short as 5 judicial days), so do not delay!
How do I find out when my Court date is?
You can call the Juvenile Court Clerk at (615) 898-7972.
Should I bring my child(ren) to Court?
Not unless your child is charged with an offense, or unless you are told to bring your child by the Judge/Magistrate, an attorney, a Department of Children's Services representative, or via Subpoena.
Can I call the Clerk's Office to get information about my case?
Generally, the Clerk's Office cannot give out information about cases over the phone. This is because all Juvenile Court files are sealed, and not open to the general public; it is impossible for the Clerks to verify who is on the other end of the phone. In fact, even if you come to the Clerk's Office in person to get information about your case, you will be required to show a photo ID to prove your identity.
Can I get a Court-appointed attorney for my case?
In the following types of cases, an adult is eligible for a Court-appointed attorney, if indigent and unable afford to an attorney: child abuse prosecutions; contributing to delinquency, unruliness, or dependence/neglect of a child; violation of compulsory school attendance; contempt of Court; abuse, dependency, or neglect cases; and termination of parental rights.
In the following types of cases, a child is eligible for a Court-appointed attorney: delinquency proceedings; unruly proceedings where child is in jeopardy of being removed from the home.
The Judge ordered me to do community service. Where can I do it?
You can complete your community service at any nonprofit agency that will allow you to volunteer.
The Judge ordered me to attend drivers' safety school. Where do I sign up?
You need to contact the Youth Services Office at (615) 898-7850 for details.
The Judge ordered me to send my child support payments to the Central Child Support Receipting Unit. How do I do that?
Send payments to: CCSRU, P.O. Box 305200, Nashville, TN 37229. Payment must be in form of check or money order; DO NOT SEND CASH. Make sure to write your Social Security Number and the "TCSES Number" (long number usually located on top right corner of Court Order) on your check/money order.
I need a certified copy of my Court Order. Where can I get that?
The Juvenile Court Clerk, 1710 S. Church Street, Suite 2, Murfreesboro, TN 37130, can give you a certified copy of your Court Order. There is a fee involved.