Family Court

Judicial Center, 1st floor, Room 105

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

(502) 595-3025


“One Family, One Judge, One Court”

Family Court is comprised of 10 divisions and 10 judges. It is involved in the most intimate and complex aspects of human nature and social relations. For that reason, Family Court uses a case management process that distinguishes it from other trial courts. With the “One Family, One Judge, One Court” approach, cases are presented in a single court, allowing the same judge to hear all matters involving a particular family. This reduces the stress that can arise when individuals are shuttled between courts to resolve a variety of issues. Jefferson County’s Family Court was created in 1991, and it has garnered national attention for its cutting-edge approach and has served as a model for many other jurisdictions around the state and nation.

Because Family Court gives cases involving families and children the highest priority, these cases do not compete with criminal and other civil cases for judicial time. As a division of Circuit Court, which is the highest trial court in Kentucky, Family Court employs full-time judges with the same qualifications as those who serve the other divisions of Circuit Court.

Family Court deals with the following types of cases (many of which are confidential) and family-related issues:


Dissolution of marriage, post-decree matters, annulment

Domestic Violence protective orders

These cases are between family members and unmarried couples who have lived together or have children together. In Jefferson County, Deputy Clerks assist victims of domestic violence in the completion of the petition for a short-term protective order (up to six months for emergency protective orders [EPOs] and up to three years for domestic violence orders [DVOs]). Petitioner’s address and minor children’s names are confidential.

Our office is one of only a few in the nation that provides off-site petition intake for medically fragile or homebound petitioners through a partnership with ElderServe.

For information on the Domestic Violence Intake Center (DVIC), click here.

Custody and visitation

All custody matters except for guardianship and all visitation issues are filed here.


Actions for support against parents, for which the state has custody of their children, or the state recovers funds from the non-custodial parent for AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), or for medical assistance.

Uniform Interstate Foreign Support Act (UIFSA)

Pertains to establishment of paternity, support and collection of child support when one parent or custodian lives in another state.

Adoptions (confidential)

The legal preceding that creates the parent-child relationship between individuals not related by blood. (Sealed upon disposition)

Adoption searches

Non-identifying medical and birth family information may be released upon written request to adopted persons who are 18 years of age or older and to adoptive parents of minor children without a court order. A search for the birth parents may begin when the adult adoptee obtains a court order from the Kentucky Circuit Court where the adoption was finalized. The adoptee must be 21 years of age or older.

Terminations (confidential)

The termination of parental rights (Sealed upon disposition)

Dependency (confidential)

A civil juvenile proceeding involving a dependent, or neglected or abused child

Status (confidential)

Status cases are juvenile proceeding involving an act that would not be a crime if committed by an adult. If the child has pending delinquency charges, any new status petitions are heard in the regular session of juvenile court.

Paternity (confidential)

Establishes parentage and may order the non-custodial parent of a child born out of wedlock to make support payments. Only employees of government agencies in the performance of their duties, law enforcement agencies, or the party or their attorneys may inspect judgments or orders. No other information about the case may be inspected without a court order.

Foreign protective orders

A petitioner who has a protective order issued in another state may file that order in this state and receive protection in the commonwealth.


Parties may appeal a Family Court decision by filing a Notice of Appeal in Family Court. Appeals from Family Court decisions are heard by the Court of Appeals.