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Legal Information: Kentucky

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 15, 2023

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

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.1
  • 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.2

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.3

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)
3 KRS § 403.7521(5)

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

Generally, only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. 

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will likely 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 two business days of any such change, you have to notify the clerk and present a copy of the new order to be authenticated.1

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.  

1 KRS § 403.7535(1), (2)

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

As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 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.

1 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.