Información Legal: Kentucky

Restraining Orders

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Actualizada: 
20 de abril de 2022

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Kentucky?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protective order. Kentucky law defines “domestic violence and abuse” as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between “family members” or “members of an unmarried couple:”

  • physical injury or serious physical injury;
  • sexual abuse;
  • assault;
  • stalking;
  • strangulation, which is defined as the actions described in the crimes of strangulation in the first degree or strangulation in the second degree or a criminal attempt, conspiracy, facilitation, or solicitation to commit the crime of strangulation; or
  • putting someone in fear of immediate physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, strangulation, or assault.1

Note: “Members of an unmarried couple” only include dating partners who live(d) together or who have a child together. See Who can get a protective order? for more information.

1 KRS § 403.720(1), (7)

What types of protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of orders, emergency protective orders and domestic violence orders.

An emergency protective order (EPO) can be issued without prior notice to the abuser (ex parte) if the judge believes there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence and abuse.1 Generally an EPO lasts for 14 days until your hearing for a domestic violence order.2 If law enforcement is unable to serve the abuser prior to the hearing, the judge can postpone the court date and extend your EPO for another 14 days. The EPO can be extended multiple times over a six-month period while law enforcement attempts service. However, at the end of the six-month period, if the respondent cannot be located to be served, the emergency protective order will be dismissed “without prejudice,” which means you could re-file.3

A domestic violence order (DVO) can only be issued after you have had a full court hearing where you and the abuser both have the opportunity to tell your sides of the story to a judge. If the judge believes that domestic violence or abuse has occurred and may happen again, s/he can issue a DVO.4 You must attend the DVO hearing. If you do not, your EPO may expire and you will have to start the process over. A DVO can last for up to three years. You may also extend your DVO for additional three year-year period(s).5 See How do I change or extend my protective order? for more information on this process.

Note: EPOs and domestic violence orders are not enforceable until they have been served on the abuser or until the abuser has been given oral notice by law enforcement or by the court about the existence of the order and what its terms are.6

1 KRS § 403.730(2)(a)
2 KRS § 403.730(1)(a)
3 KRS § 403.735(2)
4 KRS § 403.740(1)
5 KRS § 403.740(4)
6 KRS § 403.745(1)

What protections can I get in an emergency protective order and a domestic violence order?

An emergency protective order (EPO) can do the following:

  • order the abuser to not commit acts of domestic violence and abuse against you;
  • order the abuser to not contact you or anyone else specified in the order, including contact that is made face-to-face, by telephone, in writing, electronic, through a third party, etc.;
  • order the abuser to stay up to 500 feet away from you or anyone else specified in the order;
  • order the abuser to not come within a certain distance of a specific home, school, or place of employment;
  • order the abuser to not sell or destroy any of your property or any property you share with him/her;
  • order the abuser to leave the home you share;
  • give you temporary custody of your children; and
  • order any other protections necessary to eliminate future domestic violence.1

A domestic violence order (DVO) can include:

  • everything that an EPO can order, listed above; and
  • one or both of the following terms:
    • give you temporary child support; and
    • order that either or both of you receive counseling services available in the community.2

Note: After a final DVO is issued, it’s possible to file a motion to amend it to request that the abuser wear a GPS device. The judge can grant your request if the abuser has committed a serious violation of a prior domestic violence order and if the judge believes that the GPS device would increase your safety.3

1 KRS §§ 403.730(2)(a)(1); 403.740(1); see also the petition on the Kentucky Courts website
2 KRS § 403.740(1)
3 KRS § 403.761(1)

In what county do I file for the protective order?

You can file for an emergency protective order or a domestic violence order in the county where you live or a county to which you have fled in order to escape abuse.1 However, if you have left the home and want to keep the address where you are staying confidential, filing in that county would likely not be a good idea since it would alert the abuser to the fact that you are living in that county. A petition can be filed in district court, circuit court, or family court.2

1 KRS § 403.725(2)
2 KRS § 403.725(6)(a)

Si el agresor vive en otro estado, ¿puedo conseguir una orden en su contra?

Si el/la agresor/a vive en un estado diferente al suyo, el/la juez/a podría no tener “jurisdicción personal” (poder) sobre ese/a agresor/a. Esto significa que es posible que el tribunal no pueda otorgar una orden en contra de él/ella.

Hay algunas formas en las que una corte puede tener jurisdicción personal sobre un/a agresor/a que es de otro estado:

  1. El/la agresor/a tiene una conexión sustancial a su estado. Quizás el/la agresor/a viaja regularmente a su estado para visitarlo/a, por negocios, para ver la familia extendida, o el/la agresor/a vivía en su estado y huyó recientemente.
  2. Uno de los actos de maltrato “ocurrió” en su estado. Quizás el/la agresor/a le envía mensajes amenazantes o le hace llamadas acosadoras desde otro estado pero usted lee los mensajes o contesta las llamadas mientras usted está en su estado. El/la juez/a puede decidir que el maltrato “ocurrió” mientras estaba en su estado. También puede ser posible que el/la agresor/a estaba en su estado cuando le maltrató pero desde entonces se fue del estado.
  3. Otra forma para que la corte adquiera jurisdicción es si usted presenta su petición en el estado donde usted está, y el/la agresor/a recibe notificación de la petición de la corte mientras él/ella está en ese estado.

Sin embargo, aunque nada de esto aplique a su situación, eso no necesariamente significa que usted no pueda conseguir una orden. A usted le pueden dar una orden por consentimiento o el/la juez/a puede encontrar otras circunstancias que permitan que la orden sea dada. Puede leer más sobre jurisdicción personal en nuestra sección de Asuntos Básicos del Sistema Judicial - Jurisdicción Personal.

Nota: Si el/la juez/a de su estado se niega a dar una orden, usted puede pedir una orden en la corte del estado donde vive el/la agresor/a. Sin embargo, recuerde que es probable que usted necesite presentar la petición en persona y asistir a varias citas en la corte, lo cual podría ser difícil si el estado de el/la agresor/a es lejos.

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