Family Court Erroneously Entered DVO Without a Finding of Domestic Violence – Published Opinion from Kentucky Court of Appeals

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Petrie v. Brackett, et al.


After a physical altercation between Father and Son, wherein Father restrained Son so that Son could not continue hitting him, Mother filed a petition for a protective order for Son. At the hearing, the testimony revealed that Son pushed Father several times and then hit him in the chest. Father then restrained Son and asked his girlfriend to call the police. Family Court entered a domestic violence order (“DVO”), but it did not make a finding that what Father did resulted in a physical injury or constituted an act of domestic violence, and only summarized the family’s history before issuing the DVO. Father appealed.


The Court of Appeals held that Family Court erred in granting the DVO, because Family Court did not make a finding that what Father did resulted in physical injury or constituted domestic violence, failed to follow the statutory requirements for issuing a DVO, and failed to make specific findings that Son was a victim of domestic violence, that domestic violence had occurred in the past, and that it was likely to occur in the future. Thus, due to Family Court’s failure to make a finding of a physical injury, past or present physical threats of abuse, or fear of imminent harm, Family Court did not follow the statutory requirements for granting a DVO.


Digested by Nathan R. Hardymon