Protective Orders explained

 

The most common question we receive is: Do I qualify for a protective order? In Kentucky, the only people who qualify for a protective order are those who have a qualifying relationship with the respondent (person you want to get an order against). Disputes with your neighbor, co-workers, etc. will not qualify for the issuance of a protective order.  Read below to see if you qualify for a protective order. 

 

Protective Orders

 

We are pleased to provide this guide on how to obtain civil orders for those seeking protection from domestic violence and abuse, dating violence and abuse, stalking and sexual assault. Please note that the petitioner is the person who files a petition for a protective order. The respondent is the person who allegedly committed the abuse.

Why file for an EPO or IPO?

To be eligible for an EPO or an IPO, the respondent must have either:

  • Physically injured or assaulted you.

  • Strangled you.

  • Sexually abused or sexually assaulted you.

  • Threatened to physically injure or assault you.

  • Stalked you.

  • Done something to place you in fear of imminent physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, strangulation, or assault.

 

Types of Protective Orders

The court may order protection for a victim of domestic violence, dating violence and abuse, stalking and/or sexual assault. Protective order cases are different from criminal cases. Protective orders are intended to prevent future acts of violence or abuse. A criminal case is usually handled by the county attorney, who prosecutes the respondent for acts of violence or abuse that have already taken place.

Temporary Protective Orders. The court may issue an emergency protective order (EPO) in domestic violence cases or a temporary interpersonal protective order (TIPO) in dating violence and stalking/sexual assault cases. These are short-term orders intended to stop violence and abuse by placing restrictions on the respondent’s actions until a hearing may be held by the court, usually within 14 days.

Long-Term Protective Orders. Domestic violence orders (DVO) and interpersonal protective orders (IPO) can last up to three years. These orders are intended to stop violence and abuse by placing restrictions on a respondent after a court hearing.

Who can obtain a protective order?

In order to get a protective order, the parties must have a qualifying relationship. Qualifying relationships include:

  • Family members. This includes a spouse, former spouse, a parent, a child, a stepchild, a grandparent, a grandchild, or any other person living in the same household as a child if the child is the alleged victim.

  • Members of an unmarried couple. This includes members of an unmarried couple who allegedly have a child in common, any children of that couple, or members of an unmarried couple who are living together or have formerly lived together.

  • A dating relationship between two individuals who have or have had a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.

  • A victim of stalking or sexual assault.

 

Who can be protected?

  • You can request protection for yourself, your children and/or other persons who you believe may need protection.

  • If you are an adult and believe a child needs protection but you do not, you may file a petition on behalf of that child.

  • If you are under the age of 18, an adult may file a petition for you.

 

Where do I file a petition for a protective order?

You can obtain a protective order at the Warren County District Court

  • You can obtain a protective order 24 hours a day.

  • There are no fees or costs for filing a petition.

How do I fill out the petition?

You will be asked to provide information about you and the respondent. It is important to provide as much information about the respondent as possible – such as date of birth, Social Security number and address – so that he or she may be served with any order that may be issued. Your address and date of birth will be kept confidential.

You will be asked to list any children you and the respondent have and you can request that these children be protected by any order that may be issued.

Under “Motion for Relief,” you can request the protection that you believe is appropriate for your situation. You will be asked to swear that the information you provided is true.

What happens after the petition is filed?

The petition will be immediately submitted to a judge for review. If a judge issues an EPO, TIPO or a summons, a hearing will be scheduled within 14 days to determine whether a long-term order is needed. You will receive something that shows you the date and time for your hearing. If you do not know when your hearing is scheduled, check with the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk.

Law enforcement will then attempt to serve the protective order or summons on the respondent. A protective order does not go into effect until the respondent is served with a copy of the order or is notified about the protective order by law enforcement. You can contact the “agency assigned service” (listed on the order) to find out if the respondent has been served.

A protective order (EPO/TIPO) is effective until the court hearing is held, usually within 14 days. If the respondent has not been served with the EPO/TIPO, the order will be continued until service is made (up to six months) or until the order is withdrawn by the court. Even if you believe you no longer need protection, you will need to appear at the scheduled court hearing. Only a judge can grant a new court date or change the order. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the court may excuse you from future court appearances until the respondent is served. If the EPO/TIPO remains unserved for up to six months, you will receive a notice from the court at your last known address letting you know that the order is about to expire and that you will need to come to the courthouse to fill out a new petition in order to continue the case.

What should you bring to the hearing?

This may be the only hearing in the case, so you will need to bring any witnesses you may have and any documents that may be evidence of what has happened, such as police reports, photos and medical records. The Circuit Court Clerk can give you forms for subpoenas for any witnesses. If you are asking for child support, bring pay stubs and tax returns if possible. All of this information will be made part of the court record.

What can happen at the hearing?

At a full hearing, the court hears testimony from you, the respondent and any other witnesses. The court may dismiss the case or issue a DVO or IPO (domestic violence order or interpersonal protective order), which may include any of the following terms:

  1. Order the respondent to have no contact with you or other persons except as directed by the judge.

  2. Order the respondent not to go near a specified residence, school or place of employment of the petitioner.

  3. NOTE: This must be requested on the protective order petition. Any address information provided is not confidential and will be available to the respondent.

  4. Order the respondent not to abuse or threaten you.

  5. Order the respondent not to damage or dispose of your property.

  6. Order the respondent to leave your residence.

  7. Grant temporary custody of children.

  8. Anything else needed to eliminate future acts of violence.

 

What if the respondent violates the protective order?

A protective order can be enforced in any Kentucky county. Other states may enforce the order, but it should be registered in any state where you move to or plan to stay for an extended period of time.

If the respondent violates the protective order, your options may include:

  • Calling the police, who may be able to arrest the respondent.

  • Going back to the court that issued the protective order to ask that the respondent be held in contempt for violating the order.

  • Going to the county attorney’s office to see if the respondent can be charged with a crime for violating the protective order.

 

What are my rights under the Landlord/Tenant Law?

If you have a protective order issued by a judge, then you may have additional rights under the Landlord/Tenant Law, which went into effect June 29, 2017. These rights apply only to leases or rental agreements entered into or renewed on or after June 29, 2017.

You may wish to consult with an attorney or a victim advocate for additional information regarding your rights under the Landlord/Tenant Law.

Rights Under a Temporary Protective Order or No Contact Order

If you have a temporary protective order (EPO or TIPO) issued or a no contact order issued by a judge pursuant to KRS 431.064 (assault, sexual offense or violation of a protective order), you have the following rights:

  • The landlord cannot terminate, fail to renew, or refuse to enter into a lease or rental agreement with you (or otherwise retaliate against you) based on the acts that led you to obtaining the temporary protective order or based on any acts that occurred during a violation of the temporary protective order.

  • You may have the lock rekeyed or change the lock to the same quality of lock or better. First, you must inform your landlord that you intend to change the lock and provide him or her with a key if requested. The landlord may also refuse to provide a key for the new lock to the respondent even if he or she is also listed on the lease or rental agreement.

 

Long-Term Protective Orders and Termination of Lease

In addition to the rights under a temporary protective order, once a valid DVO or IPO has been issued against a respondent for your protection or the protection of a minor in your household, you may be able to terminate your lease or rental agreement.

This does not apply if you only have a temporary protective order (EPO or TIPO) or no contact order pursuant to KRS 431.064. You must have a valid long-term protective order (DVO or IPO) issued.

This only applies to leases or rental agreements entered into or renewed on or after June 29, 2017.

Long-Term Protective Orders Obtained After Entering Into or Renewing Lease or Rental Agreement

If you obtained your valid protective order after entering into or renewing your lease or rental agreement, then you may terminate your agreement by providing to your landlord:

  • A written notice of termination that must have the effective date on the notice. The effective date must be at least 30 days after the landlord receives the notice.

  • A copy of the valid protective order.

 

Long-Term Protective Orders Obtained Before Entering Into or Renewing Lease or Rental Agreement

If you obtained your valid protective order before entering into or renewing your lease or rental agreement, then you may terminate your agreement by providing to your landlord:

  • A written notice of termination that must have the effective date on the notice. The effective date must be at least 30 days after the landlord receives the notice.

  • A copy of the valid protective order.

  • A concern for your safety that arose after you entered into or renewed the lease or rental agreement.

 

Termination of Lease

Once the lease or rental agreement is terminated you shall:

  • Only be liable to pay rent on your lease or rental agreement up until the effective date of the termination.

  • Not receive a negative credit entry, a negative character reference, or be liable for any additional rent or fees solely because of the early termination of your lease or rental agreement.

  • If your lease or rental agreement is terminated at least 14 days before you move in, then you shall not have to pay any damages or penalties.

Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, Eighth Judicial Circuit

1001 Center Street, Suite 205, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Phone 270-746-7485     Fax 270-746-7812

© 2023 Robin Watkins-Tolbert / t.m. Last Update: 01/06/2021