Extension of Domestic Violence Order as Sanction for Contempt - Published Opinion from Ky Court of Appeals

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MORRIS V. MORRIS

Wife filed and was granted a DVO. Husband continued making threats and Wife filed a Motion for Contempt. At the hearing on Wife’s contempt motion, the trial court extended the DVO as a contempt sanction. After Husband’s appeal of its order, concerned Wife would be left without protection, the trial court vacated the order of extension made at the contempt hearing, conducted a hearing pursuant to KRS 403.750, and granted an extension of the DVO. Husband appealed that order as well.  

The Court of Appeals first looks to the extension granted as a sanction at the hearing on Wife’s motion for contempt. Although Wife had not filed a motion seeking extension, the Court of Appeals affirms the trial court’s order holding that the extension was appropriate as a sanction given it was reasonably related to the nature of Husband’s “contemptuous behavior.”

The Court of Appeals clarifies that even aside from the contempt issue the trial court could properly grant an extension of the DVO given that at the hearing evidence was presented that 1) the DVO was effective in protecting Wife, and 2) Husband intended to harm Wife when DVO expired.

The court then reverses the trial court’s order to vacate the contempt order, as the trial court had lost authority to act upon filing of the appeal. As the Court of Appeals affirmed the contempt order, Wife’s DVO protection remained in place.

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell

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