Domestic Violence

The most serious area of Kentucky family law is Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence cases, i.e. Emergency Protective Orders (E.P.O.’s) and Domestic Violence Orders (D.V.O.’s) are an intersection of family law and criminal law. Domestic Violence cases begin as a civil case (like all Kentucky Family Law cases) in Family Court. However, the violation of a Kentucky Domestic Violence Order (D.V.O.) or Emergency Protective Order (E.P.O.) is a criminal offense!!! This is because Domestic Violence is considered to be a major social and criminal issue here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

There are two parties in Kentucky Domestic Violence cases: the alleged victim and the alleged abuser. Each party faces incredibly important legal decisions in this process. If you or one of your loved ones falls in either of these categories, please read on to learn how to protect your legal rights in this process! You do not want to lose a Domestic Violence case! Contact J. Clark Baird, a Kentucky family law attorney who will help you no matter which side of the Domestic Violence case you are on!!  Call our office at (502) 583-3388.

Kentucky family law attorney, J. Clark Baird, has been involved in Domestic Violence cases since he began practicing law. Attorney Baird has represented both victims of Domestic Violence and persons accused of Domestic Violence. J. Clark Baird has been extremely successful in helping people defeat allegations of Domestic Violence. Attorney Baird has also helped victims of Domestic Violence obtain the legal protection that they need to prevent further instances of violence.


The legal process in a Kentucky Domestic Violence case is simple:

  • A person files a Petition for a Protective Order.
  • A judge reviews the Petition to determine if there are sufficient grounds to issue an ex parte Emergency Protective Order.
  • IF the judge determines that the allegations contained in the Petition for Protective Order indicate the presence of an immediate and present danger of domestic violence and abuse, the court shall issue an Emergency Protective Order.

The Emergency Protective Order can do several things:

    1. Order the alleged abuser to have NO CONTACT with the alleged victim or the alleged victim’s family;
    2. Order the alleged abuse to VACATE their own home;
    3. Order the alleged abuser to not DISPOSE or sell any of the parties’ property;
    4. Grant the alleged victim TEMPORARY CUSTODY of the parties’ children


IF the judge determines that the allegations contained in the Petition for Protective Order do not indicate the presence of an immediate and present danger of domestic violence and abuse, then the court has two options:

  1. Issue a summons to both parties, setting a date for a Domestic Violence Hearing;
  2. Deny any relief to the alleged victim which ends the case.
  • IF there is an Emergency Protective Order issued, the court must hold a Domestic Violence Hearing within fourteen (14) days.
  • In a Kentucky Domestic Violence Hearing, the court hears evidence presented by both the alleged victim and the alleged abuser.
  • There is no “right” to an attorney in a Domestic Violence Hearing! The court will not appoint an attorney for either party.
  • The court does not apply the same standard (presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt) as a criminal case.
  • An alleged victim only has to prove more likely than not that an incident of Domestic Violence occurred, in order to win a Domestic Violence Hearing.
  • The judge must find that more likely than not an incident of Domestic Violence occurred and may occur again before issuing a Domestic Violence Order.

A Kentucky Domestic Violence Order may have several features:

  1. RESTRAIN the abuser from any contact with the victim and/or the victim’s family;
  2. RESTRAIN the abuser from committing further acts of Domestic Violence;
  3. RESTRAIN the abuser from disposing (selling) or damaging any property of the parties;
  4. DIRECT the abuser to vacate a house shared by the parties;
  5. AWARD the victim temporary custody of the parties’ children;
  6. AWARD the victim temporary child support;
  7. DIRECT either or both parties to receive counseling;
  8. BAN the abuser from owning or possessing all firearms for up to three (3) years.

A Kentucky Domestic Violence Order may be amended upon agreement of the parties or upon motion of either party.

The Kentucky statutes on Domestic Violence are contained in KRS 403. There are several laws on Domestic Violence. The following are links provided to different sections of the code on Kentucky Domestic Violence: