Published Domestic Violence Opinion from Ky Court of Appeals March 13, 2015

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HOLT V. HOLT

The appellant appealed a Bullitt County DVO, arguing the court lacked jurisdiction to enter a DVO. The petition for a DVO was originally filed in Nelson County. It was transferred to Bullitt County after the Nelson District Court determined Bullitt County would be more appropriate, as the court was already familiar with the parties. The Appellant Court first addresses subject matter jurisdiction holding that the Kentucky Family Courts all have jurisdiction to preside of matters involving domestic violence. The Court then turns to venue and finds that both the county where the victim resides, in this case Nelson, and the county where there are on-going dissolution proceedings, in this case Bullitt, are proper venues. Thus, the Appellate Court found no error with either jurisdiction or venue.

Additionally, appellant argued there was insufficient evidence to enter a DVO and no meaningful hearing. The Appellate Court affirms the entry of the DVO holding that testimony Appellant was harassing and stalking Appellee, unlawfully entered his home, had angry outbursts, frequent drive-bys, prior acts of violence, and harassing communications was sufficient evidence to support the entry of a DVO. The Court further held there was a meaningful hearing, as each party was represented by counsel, gave testimony, and had an opportunity for cross-examination.

Judge Thompson wrote separately noting the role of clerk is ministerial, and a clerk should not make a determination about the legal sufficiency or forum when a complaint is properly filed. The clerk in this case incorrectly prevented Appellee from filing in Bullitt County and instructed him to file in Nelson County. 

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell

 

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