What is an EPO?
An Emergency Protection Order (E.P.O.) is a temporary restraining order used to protect someone from further acts of domestic violence.
What does an EPO do?
An EPO protects a person from further acts of domestic violence by preventing the alleged aggressor from having any contact with the person seeking protection and restricts the alleged aggressor from being with in a certain distance of a person’s home, school and work.
Additionally, and EPO may grant temporary custody of a minor child; possession of a shared residence; temporary child support; prevent the disposition of shared assets; or require a surrender of firearms.
When should I file for an EPO?
A person should seek an EPO anytime they have been a victim of physical assault, sexual assault/abuse, or were threatened with physical assault, sexual assault/abuse, or are a victim of stalking.
How do I file for an EPO?
An EPO can be filed at the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in the County in which you live or have fled to, during normal business hours. If someone is seeking an EPO after normal business hours, a person can go to a local police department, sheriff’s office or Kentucky State Police Post to fill out the necessary paperwork.
What happens after filing for an E.P.O.?
The EPO petition is reviewed by a family or district court judge to determine if there exists an immediate and present danger of domestic violence between the person seeking the EPO and the person it is sought against. If the EPO is granted, the court will set a court date within 14 days to conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine if the EPO will be dismissed or converted into a DVO.
The restraining party will be served with a copy of the EPO by local law enforcement prior to the hearing date.
What happens at the EPO hearing?
The EPO review hearing is held in front of a family or district court judge in the county where the EPO was filed. The person seeking the EPO and the party they are seeking protection from are present at the hearing. Other individuals who might be present include social workers and domestic violence counselors.
The judge will allow both parties to testify about the allegations contained in the original EPO petition. The judge will review the testimony of the parties, other witnesses, and any other admissible evidence (pictures, audio/video recordings, etc.), before making a decision as to whether domestic violence occurred and is likely to occur in the future, absent a DVO.
Will the judge appoint me an attorney?
No, the judge does not appoint a person seeking an EPO/DVO an attorney. However, in larger counties (Jefferson, Fayette and Warren) there may be legal aid attorneys available who can assist Petitioner’s at the hearing.
How is a Domestic Violence Order (D.V.O.) different from an E.P.O.?
A Domestic Violence Order is issued after court hearing to determine if domestic violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. A D.V.O. can last from 1 year to 3 years. Also, prior to the expiration of the D.V.O., the person who is protected by the D.V.O. can ask the court to extend the D.V.O. for another 1 to 3 years.
Do I need to hire an attorney for my EPO/DVO case?
Although you can go through the EPO/DVO process without an attorney, why would you?
You are already dealing with immense stress, fear and shock of the events that lead to this point, you shouldn’t also try to navigate the legal process alone. A DVO has serious consequences for a person and you can bet they will hire attorney to defend it
You are not alone, let The Dupree Law Firm be your shield and your sword. Call us now.
Our office serves the following counties in Kentucky: Hardin, Jefferson, Bullitt, Nelson, Larue, Hart, Grayson, Breckinridge, and Meade.