Juvenile Court

Learn more about the Juvenile Court System through Frequently Asked Questions and related links.

Physical Address:

Jefferson County Juvenile Court
765 Justice Center Drive
Dandridge, TN 37725

Mailing Address:

Jefferson County Juvenile Court
P.O. Box 1721
Dandridge, TN 37725 

Phone: 865-397-2906 (If the automated system answers, please listen to the options for the person with whom you would like to speak.) 

Fax: 865-397-2705

Directions: From exit #417 on I-40, get in the lefthand lane and travel about 4/10 of a mile South on Hwy. 92 toward Dandridge. Look for Justice Center signs. Turn left on Killion Road, next to the Arby's restaurant. Turn right off Killion Road onto Justice Center Drive. Turn left into the second, third or fourth entrance for public parking. You may enter the Courts' side of the justice center on the South side of the building where the flagpoles are located.  A map to the Jefferson County Justice Center may be downloaded by clicking here or use Google Maps for directions.

Forms

Power of Attorney for Care of a Minor Child (Pursuant to TCA 34-6-301)

Petition for Custody (Dependency & Neglect)

Petition to Set Visitation (Page 1) 

Petition to Set Visitation (Page 2)

Petition to Modify Child Support

Community Service Timesheet

Uniform Affidavit of Indigency - (for court-appointed counsel)

Release of Information Authorization (Authorizes release of information to Juvenile Court from an entity)

Schedule for Costs and Fees (Subject to change, with or without notice)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I talk to the judge before my case is heard?

No. This is known as ex parte communications and is not only unethical, but also against the law.

My son/daughter is being unruly at home. Can I have him/her put in detention to learn a lesson about what can happen?

No. The Jefferson County Juvenile Court reserves detention stays for delinquent offenses (i.e., what would normally be considered a criminal offense in adult court). There are strict laws in Tennessee that govern who can and cannot be placed in juvenile detention, as well as how long they may be kept there.

Do I need an attorney when I come to Juvenile Court?
We cannot tell you that you must or even should retain the services of an attorney. But, just like in other courts, you are entitled to attorney representation, if you so choose.  

I want to get a public defender to represent me. What do I have to do?

You need to contact the Juvenile Clerk’s office and obtain a copy of the Affidavit of Indigency or you can download it from the links at the top of this page. Complete the form in its entirety, except for your signature and the date. Be certain to include all household income of any type. Return the affidavit to the Juvenile Clerk’s office to sign it in front of a clerk and swear to the contents under oath. The judge will review your information and determine whether or not you qualify for a public defender.  

My child has run away from home. What should I do?

The first thing you need to do is contact the law enforcement agency with proper jurisdiction to file a Missing Child Report, which they will place into the National Crime Information Computer (N.C.I.C.).

You may also choose to come by the Juvenile Court Services office to discuss further options, such as in-home services to assist with issues resulting in the runaway behavior and/or filing a juvenile petition.

Will my child be locked up in detention, once he/she is located?

No. As stated earlier, detention is reserved for delinquent offenses. Runaways will be returned to the custody of their legal custodian/guardian.

I have a traffic citation. Do I have to appear in court? Or, can I just pay it and not appear?

The juvenile judge requires that all juveniles issued a citation appear in Juvenile Court on the date indicated on their citation or the date for which they were notified by the Court, no exceptions. 

How long do I have to pay my court-related costs?

You have thirty (30) days from your court date to have payment made to the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office on all costs, fines, restitution, attorney fees, etc. Exceptions are only made on a case-by-case basis, based on extenuating circumstances.

Failure to satisfy your court ordered costs can result in a violation of probation, an Order to Show Cause being issued and, possibly, being held in contempt of court, and/or the filing of civil litigation against you, whichever the Court deems appropriate.

What will happen to me based on my charge?

Each case is to be reviewed based on its own circumstances. Therefore, there are no set guidelines that prescribe what will happen with each type of case.

My husband/wife and I are in the process of a divorce. Can I file something that will keep him/her from picking up our child, without my approval?

No. Juvenile Court does not have jurisdiction in divorce matters, which are handled in either Chancery or Circuit Courts. In the eyes of the law, both biological parents in a marriage are equally legal custodians of the minor child, until the divorce court says otherwise. Juvenile Court has jurisdiction in custody matters where the parents were not married to one another.

The only way Juvenile Court intervenes is if the child is being abused or neglected, requiring an emergency order of custody. And, even then, by law, Child Protective Services should have been contacted and involved in the matter. Their phone number is (877) 237-0004. You may also make a report online through the CPS Web Intake portal (Use this online reporting system to report injuries or risk of injuries that are not imminent, life threatening, that do not require immediate medical care or pose a low risk of harm to the child).

If the other parent and I were not married, do we have equal custody of our child?

If the parents were not married, the mother is viewed as the sole legal custodian of the child, as outlined in Tennessee statute.  It does not matter if the father's name was listed on the birth certificate and/or the child has his last name.  However, if a court of proper jurisdiction has established paternity and put down and order in reference to that, then both parents may have some form of custody.

I want to file for emergency custody of a child. What do I have to do?

The only way you can file for emergency custody of a juvenile is with the assistance of an attorney. The judge requires that all orders for emergency temporary custody be written and styled accordingly.

Your only other option is to file a regular petition for temporary custody and pay a filing fee. Your case will then be set on a docket about one month in the future, so as to allow time for all parties to be properly notified by the Court. You will also be acting as your own attorney and required to follow the same rules and procedures as any attorney practicing law in front of the Court.

Will a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) be appointed for my child’s custody case?

When the case comes to court, the judge will determine if a Guardian Ad Litem should be appointed.  If they judge determines it to be in the best interest of the child, a GAL will be appointed to represent the child’s interests.

Is the custody granted by the Court permanent?

Any custody awarded by the Court is only temporary, pending further orders of the Court.

My license was taken for an alcohol/drug-related charge. When can I get it back?

Pursuant to TCA 55-10-701, the juvenile court judge may issue an order of denial of driving privileges.  On first offenses, the judge may exercise discretion and sign a withdrawal to reinstate driving privileges after three (3) months.

Beyond this limited circumstance, the denial or suspension of driving privileges are outlined in TCA 55-10-702.

I was placed on “indefinite” probation. What does that mean?

Just as the term implies, indefinite probation means that there is no clearly defined or stated amount of time that you must be on probation. However, you must complete all orders of the Court and demonstrate acceptable behavior at home, school and in the community before your probation officer will consider recommending your release to the Court. In most cases, juveniles are on probation for a few months, before they have been able to demonstrate their readiness to be released.

I was placed on a “determinate” sentence of probation. What does that mean?

Just as the term implies, determinate probation is precisely determined, limited or defined by the Court as to the amount of time you must be on probation. The only way this can be altered is if the Court determines extenuating circumstances that warrant an order modifying the original order for a determinate amount of time.

I want my son/daughter put in a boot camp to give him/her some structure and instill some discipline. What do I need to do?

If he/she is your child, it is your determination if he/she would best be served by “boot camp” program. But, the Juvenile Court does not place children in this type of program for you. The Court does not keep a record of “boot camp” programs. Nor, is the Court aware of any insurance provider that will cover such a program for you.

Can I have my child put in Mountain View Youth Development Center for a wake-up call?

No. Juveniles placed at Mountain View Youth Development Center, which is operated by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, must be adjudicated delinquent and placed in state custody. And, even then, the decision for placement there is up to DCS.

I received notice from the State of Tennessee that they are trying to get child support from me for my child who was placed in state custody. Why am I getting this?

The State of Tennessee may pursue court-ordered support from the legal custodian(s) of a minor child, when a court of proper jurisdiction has made him/her a ward of the state. Typically, child support is based on established mandatory guidelines, which are implemented in each case.

I have not gotten my child support payment, as ordered by the Court, from the non-custodial parent. What do I need to do?

You should contact Child Support Enforcement at the Tennessee Department of Human Services at (865) 397-9434 and speak to a caseworker regarding the particulars of your case. If the matter requires a review by the Court, the DHS attorney will need to set if for review.

I called the police the other day about an incident and they told me that they cannot file charges on my behalf, because they did not witness the incident. Is this true? What can I do?

If law enforcement does not have sufficient knowledge of a crime, they are unable to file charges. However, if you wish to pursue charges yourself as a private prosecutor, you may come to the Juvenile Court Services office and take out a petition. You will need the full name, date of birth, and address of the juvenile against whom you wish to file charges. You will have to provide a statement of facts and swear to the facts you provided under oath to a Court official. If you have a copy of a police report, you should bring it with you at the time of filing. It is always good practice to make a police report and bring it with you, when filing charges.

Juvenile Court officials are prohibited from giving you legal advice, such as advising what charge(s) you should file or not file. If you require such assistance, you should contact law enforcement, the local Assistant Attorney General’s office or another attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee.

Will the Attorney General’s office be prosecuting my case in Juvenile Court?

Typically, no. An Assistant Attorney General does not routinely come to Juvenile Court. If you wish to have such representation, you may wish to contact the District Attorney General’s office at (865) 397- 2367 and ask if an assistant district attorney general is available to prosecute your case.

Law enforcement is investigating a case for me but I want to go ahead and file charges. Can I do that?

We cannot advise you whether you should or should not file charges.  But, if you choose to file charges, instead of allowing law enforcement to finish their investigation, they will likely close their case, leaving you to prosecute your case alone.  If you allow them to finish their investigation, and they determine that charges are appropriate, then law enforcement would file the charges and prosecute the case using evidence they have gathered from their investigation.

Can you recommend an attorney for me to hire?

No. It is unethical for us to recommend specific attorneys. However, we can tell you that any attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee can represent you in Juvenile Court. Attorney fees vary and we suggest that you contact several attorneys to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.  The Yellow Pages of the Five Rivers Area phone book can provide you with a comprehensive listing of attorneys in this area.

Who is the DCS caseworker assigned to our case?

The Court is not always aware of the caseworker to whom a DCS case has been assigned. We recommend that you call the area DCS office at either (865) 475-0722.

I/We want to get an order of protection.  Can your Court do that?

No. Juvenile Court does not do orders of protection. Those matters must be taken up with the Circuit/Sessions Court Clerk’s office.

How much does it cost me to file something in your Court?

The Schedule of Fees, effective July 1, 2007, may be downloaded for review by clicking the link at the top of the page.  *These fees are subject to change, with or without prior notice.

I want to file a complaint against an attorney that represented our case in court.  What do I need to do?
You may wish to visit the web site for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility to learn more about your request and/or to download their Memorandum of Complaint in Adobe format.

I want to file a complaint against the judge that heard our case.  What do I need to do?

You may wish to visit the web site for the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary to learn more about your request.

I want to file a complaint against a mental health provider involved in our case.  What do I need to do?

You may wish to visit the Tennessee Department of Health's web site pertaining to social healthcare workers, including mental health, to learn more and download their complaint form.

What are my rights in dependent/neglect or abuse cases?

You may wish to visit the web site of the Administrative Office of the Courts to download their brochure in Adobe format titled Your Rights In Juvenile Court for information on this matter.

As the parent/guardian of a child involved in a child abuse/neglect case, what do I need to know?

You may wish to vist the web site of the Administrative Office of the Courts to download their brochure in Adobe format titled The Tennessee Handbook for Parents and Guardians in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases for more information on this matter.

I have been asked to take in a child to whom I am related.  Can you give me more information on this?

You may wish to visit the web site of the Administrative Office of the Courts to download their brochure in Adobe format for family caregivers for more information on this matter.

How do I contact the officer or law enforcement agency that issued charges against me?

Dandridge Police Department (865-397-8862); Jefferson City Police Department (865-475-2002); Jefferson County Sheriff's Department (865-397-9411); New Market Police Department (865-475-7997); White Pine Police Department (865-674-7771); Tennessee Highway Patrol (800-737-2682).

I am an attorney or court reporter and need a copy of the digital court player from BIS digital to listen to a recording of one of my cases.  Where can I find it?

You may click here to download a free copy of the digital court player from BIS Digital's web site.  If you experience difficulty with this download, please visit their web site at www.BISdigital.com to try it from there.

Related Links