Sometimes before a divorce or a legal separation occurs, it is preceded by rising tensions between the spouses or partners specifically, or within the family in general. Occasionally, these tensions rise to the level of emotional abuse or threatening statements and behaviors; and in worst-case situations, animosities can boil over into overt physical violence.
The days when an abused spouse had nowhere to turn are a thing of the past. Kentucky law provides remedies for abusive family environments, and one of the most important of these is the emergency protective order.
An emergency protective order starts with a petition and a motion to a court by the person seeking protection. If the judge finds the petition persuasive, then he or she will issue the order against the person from whom protection is sought (the “adverse party”).
The order itself can cover a range of issues, including prohibitions against the adverse party from contacting or communicating with the petitioner, or engaging in continued acts of abuse or violence against the petitioner.
In addition, the protective order can be crafted to preclude the adverse party from coming within a specified distance of certain locations, such as the place of work of the petitioner or the school that the petitioner’s children go to.
It can direct the adverse party to vacate the petitioner’s premises, and to avoid damaging or disposing of property belonging to the other party or the family.
The purpose of an emergency protective order is to temporarily restrain the adverse party from harming or otherwise abusing the person seeking protection from battery, assault or other acts until a formal court hearing can be held. It is not a final form of protection and under some circumstances can be lifted; there may also be requirements to renew the order at two-week intervals if the adverse party cannot be legally served with the order.
If you have questions about emergency protective orders, or are in an environment involving domestic violence and need to begin the process to petition for one, contacting an attorney experienced in the application of Kentucky family law and practice is a wise first step to take.