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Disclaimer: We are not attorneys; therefore we cannot offer legal advice, however, we offer support and information to help assist you. As legal advocates, we cannot guarantee one way or another how your case will go; each case is different.
Here are some quick explanations of legal topics that we as an agency assist with:
Emergency Protective Orders (EPOs): Protective orders are issued by the courts to grant protection for the party that requested it. This party is referred to as the Petitioner. EPOs are temporary and can last up to six months, when they are either dismissed or converted into a Domestic Violence Order.
Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs): DVOs are put into effect after the judge decides that it is necessary; and these can last up to three years.
Protective orders are part of Civil Court (District Court), because it is one party vs another for civil matters. The Court cannot hold predjudice against a party for filing and dismissing an EPO/DVO; meaning they can request the protection, dismiss it, and request again as many times as necessary.
Process: The party wanting the protection, or the Petitioner, can come to a legal advocate or go to the clerk's office for the paperwork. You can file an EPO/DVO on someone if you are married, divorced, unmarried with children in common, unmarried and currently or formerly living together, on behalf of a child, stepchild, parent, or grandparent. It is important to know the papers CANNOT be signed unless sworn in by the clerk. These papers include information about the Petitioner, and the person they are being filed against, or the Respondent. The papers have places for information regarding the events that led to the request of the protection, and gives the Petitioner an opportunity to specify how they want that EPO to work. For example, a Petitioner can still live with the Respondent as long as they only check the box that states the Respondent can no longer commit acts of domestic violence. They can also request temporary custody of children involved, a restraining order that states the Respondent cannot be at the Petitioner's home, school, place or work, etc. If the Respondent violates the EPO or DVO, the judge will decide if the Respondent will be incarcerated, and depending on the severity of the violation will determine the length of time incarcerated. If you have an EPO/DVO issued in Kentucky, your protection is still valid throughout the United States as long as you contact authorities and alert them that you have the order.