Sometimes during a divorce proceeding, one spouse may require a formal order of protection. It might be to protect children or themselves from the other spouse. And it might last the length of the divorce proceedings or long-term.
If someone feels their safety is at risk, Kentucky has methods in place to keep a hostile spouse at a safe distance with a protective order.
Types of protective orders
Kentucky has two types of protective orders, according to the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence: the domestic violence order and interpersonal protective order.
Domestic violence orders cover family members and those unmarried couples who live together or have a child together. Interpersonal protective orders are for people outside those categories but who have been in a dating relationship, sexually assaulted or stalked.
Steps to getting a protective order
As the Lexington city website details, there are four steps to the protective order process. First, any person may petition a county courthouse. This involves descriptions of the most recent, abusive acts from the respondent and any injuries entailed.
In the interest of immediate safety, a judge reviewing this report may grant one of the two forms of protective orders. They may deny the petition if the situation does not legally qualify for a protective order.
If they approve an order, a county sheriff delivers the temporary order to the respondent along with a notice of the coming hearing.
The hearing is where the judge listens to both parties before deciding whether to award a long-term protective order. These orders may prevent violent contact by restricting distance, physical contact, or messaging through media. An order may last up to three years.
Anyone in immediate danger should call 911 for emergency services, but protective orders may keep someone safe over a longer period—even during divorce.