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Taking steps to end the cycle of abuse

Numerous Kentucky residents, men and women, live in abusive marital relationships. Many endure the abuse because they do not feel they deserve better or are afraid to leave. If you have found yourself in such a situation, you can start taking steps to end the cycle of abuse.

Victims of domestic violence often feel alone in their situations. Their abusers make them feel that no one will be willing to help them. This is far from the truth. There are organizations out there ready and willing to help you when you are ready to make a move. One of the first things such organizations suggest doing is seeking a protective order.

Types of protective orders

In the state of Kentucky, there are three different types of protective orders available depending on the details of your situation. Only two types of protective orders apply to marital relationships, however. These are:

  • Domestic violence order
  • Emergency protective order

In order to obtain a domestic violence order, you must file the appropriate petition in court. After filing, the court schedules a date for a judge to review your case, hear from you and your spouse and then make a decision regarding the need for a DVO.

If, when applying for a domestic violence order signs of physical abuse are present, the court may issue an emergency protective order before your scheduled court hearing. An EPO is a temporary order, where a DVO may be good for three years and may qualify for extensions.

Protections offered with an EPO and a DVO are a little different. With and EPO your abuser will not be able to contact you, hurt you, come within a certain distance of you -- and your children, if applicable -- and may be ordered to vacate your home, among other things. With a DVO, your spouse with either be able to contact you in an approved way without threatening violence or may not contact you at all. It depends on the type of DVO granted.

Filing for a protective order

Filing for a protective order may be the simplest part of the process. It requires filling out the appropriate form, filing it in court and having a notice served to your spouse. The DVO petition requires you to include the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your address -- current and usual
  • Your date of birth, driver's license number and Social Security number
  • Your occupation
  • Information about a pending divorce or separation
  • Information about your abuser
  • Information about any weapons owned by the abuser

The more information you can provide the better.

Seeking a protective order is just one of the first steps in ending the cycle of abuse. It does not matter if your request is refused or approved, you can start making plans for the future. Some of those plans may include seeking a formal separation or divorce. Getting out, getting help and getting a fair marital settlement is possible with legal assistance.

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