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ACTUALIZADA 21 de septiembre, 2017

Enforcing an Out-of-State Order in Kentucky

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If you are planning to move to Kentucky or are going to be in Kentucky for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Kentucky

arribaCan I get my protection order enforced in Kentucky? What are the requirements?

Yes.  Your protection order can be enforced in Kentucky 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.**

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.

Note:  If your out-of-state protection order is violated in Kentucky, you can either pursue a civil proceeding or a criminal proceedings for the violation - you cannot pursue both.  Once either proceeding has been filed, the other cannot be pursued, regardless of the outcome of the first proceeding.***

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)
*** KRS § 403.7521(5)

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arribaCan I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Kentucky?

No. Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Kentucky.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued.

Kentucky law requires that you notify the courthouse in Kentucky where you filed your order to be authenticated if your protection order expires, is canceled, or is modified in any way by the court that issued the order.  Within 2 business days of any such change, you have to notify the clerk and present a copy of the new order to be authenticated.*

If your order does expire while you are living in Kentucky, you may be able to get a new one issued in Kentucky but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Kentucky.  To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Kentucky, visit our KY Protective Orders / Domestic Violence Orders page.  

* KRS § 403.7535(1),(2)

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arribaI was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in Kentucky?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,* Kentucky can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.  To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area click here KY Finding a Lawyer.

* The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

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Registering your out-of-state order in Kentucky

arribaWhat is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Kentucky, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC.  If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in Kentucky.*  All law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC database, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.  

* See KRS § 403.751


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arribaHow do I register my protection order in Kentucky?

In order to register (authenticate) your out-of-state order in Kentucky, you can file a certified copy of your order in district court or circuit court.  A certified copy generally has a court seal or stamp and a signature on it from the clerk or judge.  If you do not have a certified copy, you can still file it in court.*  See Can I register my protection order if I do not have a certified copy? for more information. 

Your order will then be presented to the district judge or circuit judge, who will read over the order and add any information that is necessary for entry into the Law Information Network of Kentucky system (LINK system), which is a statewide database of protection orders in Kentucky that all law enforcement officers have access to.  A law enforcement officer will check the LINK system when enforcing your order, which is why it is helpful to make sure that your order is registered in this system.* Once your order has been reviewed by the judge and entered into the LINK system, it will be considered authenticated and you will receive a certified copy of the affidavit that declares your order authenticated.**  Your order can then be enforced in any county in Kentucky, just as if it were a Kentucky domestic violence order.

To find a courthouse near you, go to our KY Courthouse Locations page. 

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Kentucky for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our KY State and Local Programs page.

* KRS § 403.7521(1)-(3)
** KRS § 403.7529(3)

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arribaDo I have to register my protection order in Kentucky in order to get it enforced?

No.  Kentucky state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect.  It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Kentucky police officer, but the officer does need to believe that the order has not expired.*

* KRS § 403.7521




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arribaCan I register my protection order if I do not have a certified copy?

Yes, but it may take longer and there could be harmful consequences if you cannot ultimately get a certified copy.  To register an uncertified order, you can bring the uncertified copy to a courthouse in Kentucky where your order will be filed and will be considered valid for 14 days, which means it can be enforced during the 14-day period.  The clerk will contact the courthouse that issued your order and ask them to send a certified copy.  If a certified copy is not sent within the 14-day period, your order will be extended for another 14-day period.  However, Kentucky law says that if the Kentucky court does not receive a certified copy after the full 28 days have passed, your order will be considered expired and cannot be enforced.* 

You may want to check with the clerk of court before the 28 days have expired to make sure that the court received a certified copy of your order.  

If this your order does expire, you may be able file for a Kentucky domestic violence order.  You may want to get in touch with a local domestic violence organization in Kentucky for help with this process.  You can find contact information for local organizations on our KY State and Local Programs page.  You can also find instructions for how to file for a protective order in Kentucky on our KY Protective Orders / Domestic Violence Orders page.

* KRS § 403.7527(3)

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arribaWill the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our KY State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)


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arribaWhat if I don't register my protection order?  Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe.  While federal law does not require that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a Kentucky law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real.  Once you have authenticated your order by filing it in court, the court will direct law enforcement to help you in having the order followed and order that it be enforced in any county.*

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Kentucky. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Kentucky, go to our KY State and Local Programs page. 

* ​KRS § 403.7529(2)

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arribaDoes it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. Under federal law, a fee cannot be charged for registering your protection order in another state.




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