You have probably heard the term “restraining order” used on television shows or the news to describe situations where the court has ordered one person to stay away from another person. Kentucky does not provide “restraining orders” like some states but instead has two types of protective orders. They are: Emergency Protective Orders (EPO) and Domestic Violence Orders (DVO).






An adult may seek a protective order if they have been a victim of domestic violence and the abuser is:

  1. A current or former spouse.
  2. A biological or step-parent.
  3. A Grandparent.
  4. Boyfriend or girlfriend living in the same household or had lived in the same household in the past.
  5. Boyfriend or girlfriend that have a child in common (do not need to have lived together).

Furthermore, a victim that is a minor can file against a family member or anyone who lives in the same household regardless of relationship. (If a juvenile wishes to file against someone in their family, they will need an adult family member to file the order on their behalf).







An EPO is a legal mechanism that provides protection for abuse victims for a short period of time, specifically 14 days. An EPO can be sought by a victim of abuse without a full court hearing and without the abuser being present in court (in legal terms, “ex parte”).  Like all legal proceedings there are procedural hurdles to clear when seeking an EPO.  You will need to complete the proper paperwork in order to get before a judge. If the Judge grants the EPO, then the abuser will be notified that you have an order against the abuser and the date, time and location for a hearing to determine if there should be a DVO put into place. At the hearing both parties have the right to be heard concerning the allegations set forth in the EPO document.


If you are accused of domestic violence, it is important to note that an EPO is not effective or enforceable until you have been served with the EPO document by law enforcement or given oral notice by law enforcement. Oral notice requires the law enforcement officer to indicate that an EPO has been issued, the terms of the EPO and a location in which you may get a hard copy of the EPO document. Should law enforcement be unable to serve you with the EPO document, the hearing will be continued. If you are not served within a 6 month period then the Court will dismiss the action without prejudice. This means that it can be re-filed.


Having experienced representation in these actions can be the difference between successfully obtaining an EPO or leaving the courthouse without court protection. Alternatively, it is extremely unwise to answer an EPO as an alleged abuser without experienced representation. Attorney Peter Roush has this experience.







A DVO is a legal mechanism that provides protection for abuse victims after an EPO has expired. As a result, a DVO applies for a longer period of time than an EPO and can provide more protections than an EPO. Because it applies to a longer period of time, and because it can provide for more protection, a DVO can only be issued by the court after both parties have had an opportunity to present “their side of the story” to a judge. If the person who filed the previous EPO fails to appear, then the case will usually be dismissed. If the party named in the EPO as an abuser fails to appear, after legal service of process, then there may be a default judgment entered establishing a DVO.


Like an EPO, a DVO is not enforceable or effective until it has been served on an abuser. The DVO can be effective for up to three (3) years. At the end of effective date of the DVO, the party granted protection may petition the court to extend the time further.


DVO’s may also be amended through petition to the Court.


You have the right to have an attorney present throughout the entire EPO and DVO process. Roush & Stilz, P.S.C. has the experience and knowledge to represent you and protect your rights.


If you are accused of Domestic Violence you should always have an attorney to protect your rights. A DVO will appear on many background checks and could preclude you from certain types of employment and benefits. Additionally, if you are the victim of abuse do not hesitate to seek court protection. You must make sure, however, you have the right attorney to help you navigate the process.


If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys, please contact our firm.