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Know the Laws: Kentucky

UPDATED September 21, 2017

Moving to Another State with a Kentucky Domestic Violence Order (DVO)

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If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your DVO can still be enforceable.

General rules

back to topCan I get my DVO from Kentucky enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Kentucky DVO that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid DVO’s granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See How do I know if my DVO is good under federal law? to find out if your DVO qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state DVOs in the same way it enforces its own orders. If the abuser violates your out-of-state DVO, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by "full faith and credit." 

 

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back to topHow do I know if my DVO is good under federal law?

An DVO is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story. 
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

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back to topI have a emergency protective order (EPO) from abuse order.  Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes. An ex parte emergency protection order (EPO) can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my DVO is good under federal law?*

Note:
The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte emergency protection order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

 

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Getting your domestic violence order enforced in another state

back to topHow do I get my DVO enforced in another state? 

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your domestic violence order (DVO) enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid DVO is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.* Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our State and Local Programs page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

Note:
It is important to keep a copy of your DVO with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

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back to topDo I need a special copy of my DVO to it enforced?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your DVO. A certified copy says that it is a "true and correct" copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Kentucky, the copy you first receive from the court is a certified copy.  Kentucky is part of Project Passport, a program that makes Protective Orders easy to recognize so that police officers in neighboring states can easily enforce them.  You can find a copy of Kentucky’s DVO online here: http://www.kdva.org/projects/projectprotect.html Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work. Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

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back to topCan I get someone to help me?  Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your DVO enforced in another state.However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your DVO, and help you through the process if you decide to do so. To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, please visit our KY Where to Find Help page.

 

 

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back to topDo I need to tell the Court in Kentucky if I move?

Yes, if you won't be getting mail at your old address.  The court that gave you your DVO needs to have an up-to-date address for you if you move.  That's because they will communicate with you only by mail if anything happens to your DVO - for example, if your abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way.  If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, it is a good idea to provide the Court with a new address where you can receive mail. If you provide your new address to the Court, they will keep it confidential.  It will be kept in a confidential part of your file, and the public will not have access to it.  However, your new address could possibly be released to court officials in your new state or law enforcement officials in either Kentucky or your new state.  If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you can use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. Box instead.

 

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Enforcing custody provision in another state

back to topI was granted temporary custody with my DVO. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your DVO. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If your abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a domestic violence advocate or lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the KY area on our KY Where to Find Help page.

 

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back to topI was granted temporary custody with my DVO.  Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a DVO can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.*

* 18 USC 2266

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