Family and dating relationships have the potential to decline and the resulting disputes may end up in a courtroom. Remedies available to family members and members of dating relationships include, but are not limited to: seeking criminal charges, separation, or divorce. In addition, a party may seek a civil order for protection from domestic violence or abuse, dating violence or abuse, stalking behavior, or sexual assault. The person seeking protection is the petitioner and the person alleged to have committed domestic violence or abuse, dating violence or abuse, stalking behavior, or sexual assault is the respondent.
There are four types of protective orders in Kentucky:
There are two major requirements that must be met in order to obtain a protective order.
First, there must be a qualifying relationship such as family members, members of the same household as a child victim, unmarried couples who have a child in common, unmarried couples who are living together or formerly lived together or a former or current dating relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. In addition, any incidents of stalking or sexual abuse will qualify even if there is no relationship between the parties.
Second, the respondent’s conduct must include committing an assault, causing physical injury, sexual abuse, threatening to cause physical injury or an assault, engaging in stalking behavior, or committing an act that places an individual in fear of imminent physical injury, serious physical injury, or sexual abuse.
To obtain a protective order one must file a petition in the county in which they reside or the county they are currently in if they fled their county of residence because of the conduct necessitating the protective order. One can file a petition twenty-four hours a day without paying a filing fee (law enforcement will be needed to file outside of normal business hours). Upon filing the petition, a judge will review the allegations and may issue a temporary protective order (EPO or TIPO) or the judge may issue a summons notifying the respondent of the hearing date. The EPO or TIPO will remain in effect until the court conducts a hearing but will not extend past six months.
Thereafter, a hearing will be conducted to determine if the EPO or TIPO will be converted to a DVO or IPO. During the hearing, the court will take testimony and consider evidence concerning the allegations set forth in the petition. Both the petitioner and respondent may be represented by an attorney at said hearing. The court may hear testimony from any witnesses, including the petitioner and respondent. The petitioner and respondent will have the opportunity to question each other. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced attorney represent you at the hearing. At the conclusion of all testimony, the court will either enter a DVO or IPO or will dismiss the action.
Once entered, protective orders will be enforced throughout Kentucky and may be enforced throughout the United States. Protective orders may need to be registered in other states to enforceable in that jurisdiction. Upon entry of a protective order the judge may place the following restrictions on the respondent: