Understanding the protective order process

You may find yourself in a relationship with someone that no longer acts like he or she did in the beginning. Your partner or someone close to you may be showing signs of dating violence or abuse, sexual assault or stalking behavior. 

If you are seeking court protection from someone who committed domestic violence or abuse against you, this overview of protective orders will give you a starting place as you work through this tremendously difficult time. 

Understanding protective orders

A protective order is an order issued by a court which requires the person who is harming you to stop. Protective orders are also called restraining orders, injunctions or an order of protection. The domestic violence protective order statutes help stop the abuser from hurting or threatening you in general and also at your workplace, home or school. 

These orders can afford you protections such as ordering the abuser to have no contact with you, leave the home you share, give you temporary custody of your child, not commit acts of abuse and not come within a certain distance of you. 

Getting a protective order

Filing a petition for a protective order requires a visit to the Circuit Clerk’s in your area. You will provide information on a form called a petition about you and your abuser including address of residence, date of birth, Social Security number and any children you have. There are no filing fees for protective order petitions. 

There are two types of protective orders in Kentucky: interpersonal protective orders and domestic violence orders. A judge can order IPOs in emergency situations if there is an immediate danger of domestic violence, without prior notice to the abuser. After a full court hearing where you and the abuser are present and both share your stories in front of a judge, the judge will decide whether to issue DVO or not. 

Changing a protective order

If the need to change your original protective order arises, you can fill out a form at the Circuit Clerk’s office so the judge will review your case. If you want to try to get the order extended, you can fill out this request before your order expires.