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SEPTEMBER 16, 2022

John Schmidt - Oct. 7, 2022

JOHN RAMSEY: It is Family Law Friday, so that means I am joined by my friend, attorney John Schmidt, who is here, and we talk about all kinds of things, whether it be divorce, custody issues. Today, we’re going to talk about IPOs and EPOs, when you should seek one, and what is the difference. First of all, welcome in. It is National Guacamole Day, so you must partake, John.

JOHN SCHMIDT: Little Salsarita action here?

JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah. Do you mind?

JOHN SCHMIDT: No, I don’t mind. No. No.

JOHN RAMSEY: Because I — I — I’m bragging because I do think it’s really good guac.

JOHN SCHMIDT: You know, the Salsarita people are very nice people.

JOHN RAMSEY: They are nice people.

JOHN SCHMIDT: Yeah. They’re very nice people.

JOHN RAMSEY: They give back to the community, and they make great guac, which isn’t a bad thing.

JOHN SCHMIDT: No. It’s a great thing.

JOHN RAMSEY: Looks good on the resume. There you go. How is it?

JOHN SCHMIDT: It’s incredible.

JOHN RAMSEY: There we go.

JOHN SCHMIDT: It’s really good. Good.

JOHN RAMSEY: I’m glad you like it.


JOHN RAMSEY: Okay. On a serious note —

JOHN SCHMIDT: All right.

JOHN RAMSEY: Okay. When should someone, well, seek an IPO or an EPO? And — and, I guess, first of all, we should clarify what is that ac — what does that acronym stand for?



JOHN SCHMIDT: Sure. An IPO is interpersonal protective order, and so the EPO is an emergency protective order. An IPO is for dating relationships. An EPO is for domestic relationships. So the differentiation, I think, is, you know, a domestic relationship is wife, you know, you’re living together, household members, grandparents to grandchildren, those relationships, right? That’s in the house —

JOHN RAMSEY: Right. Right.

JOHN SCHMIDT: — right? Or in the fam — immediately family kind of deal. IPO is a dating relationship, so someone that you have an expectation of affection with. You know, business relationships don’t count. Casual relationships don’t count. It’s the — where you’re dating. So, you know, expectation of affection, there’s been expression of romantic interest, you know, you’ve gone to things together and been out as a couple, those kind of things.



JOHN RAMSEY: — when you — when you say EPO, and I hear the word “emergency,” so that means there’s probably some kind of immediate danger. So is — an EPO, I guess, is more extreme and more immediate, right?

JOHN SCHMIDT: No. They — they both share that requirement. They both —


JOHN SCHMIDT: They both share the requirement of needing protection because there’s an imminent and present risk of or actual physical injury, sexual abuse, assault, or stalking. And — and so we’re seeing a lot of this happening, and one of the reasons why I thought about it this week is we’re seeing a lot of it happening with middle and high schoolers, where people are seeking protection, and I think it’s an upcoming trend. And in some cases, it’s appropriate. So if you have, you know, a boyfriend or a girlfriend that can’t seem to let it go, and they’re actually stalking the other person, then that would be appropriate for an IPO. But if you’re in a blended family, for example, and, you know, that’s difficult enough as it is. Those are really tough. But the adults sometimes talk about litigation, and they spin the kids up. So we generally consider this bad behavior on the adults’ part. They’re not supposed to talk about litigation with children. Kids need to be kids, right?

JOHN RAMSEY: Right. There you go. Yes.

JOHN SCHMIDT: You know, if you’re — if you’re a middle schooler or a high schooler, you just need to enjoy high school, right? So, you know, just — just enjoy middle school, enjoy high school. You got enough going on as it is. There’s enough drama —

JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah. Enough drama.

JOHN SCHMIDT: — going on in the —

JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah. Yeah. So —

JOHN SCHMIDT: You have kids. I have kids. We’ve been there, right?

JOHN RAMSEY: You — yeah. You — you said something, though, that — I don’t know if the right word — “interesting” is the right word, but let’s just say I’m — I’m curious. You said there seems to be a trend.

JOHN SCHMIDT: Yeah. We’re seeing more of these.

JOHN RAMSEY: So high school, middle school. Why do you think that is? You’re saying there — there’s more — for lack — is it stalking? More threats? Is it because of — our current environment seems to be a little more volatile? What do you —


JOHN RAMSEY: — attribute that to?

JOHN SCHMIDT: I think so. I think it’s just that people, when they feel like their kids are being bullied, or there — there’s a conflict — social media, we talk less, you know? We — we interact electronically more, and — and so the ability to resolve differences in an interpersonal relationship where we’re — we normally would say, “Hey, John, you know, our kids are having this issue. Let’s talk.”


JOHN SCHMIDT: People are doing, I think, less of that, and they’re — they’re resorting to the courts more.

JOHN RAMSEY: Okay. So this is a — these are court-ordered, an EPO or — or an IPO, right?


JOHN RAMSEY: So — so when do you get involved, John, and why would you get involved?

JOHN SCHMIDT: Well, if it’s with kids, a lot of times, we get appointed because kids are involved, and they need counsel. So the Court will appoint a guardian ad litem, and a guardian ad litem is an attorney that’s had training to represent children. I happen to be one. There are many, many, many of us. And — and so the Court will appoint us to represent the child in that action. Although the parent may have taken that out on their behalf, the child is entitled to representation. And it’s very helpful because sometimes the parents are the ones who are misbehaving, and the child needs someone to stand up for them and give them a voice. And, you know, there are very few people who are bigger and louder and more assertive than I am, so — so I — I have no trouble giving them a voice.

JOHN RAMSEY: There you go. So —

JOHN SCHMIDT: I have no trouble doing that.

JOHN RAMSEY: So when — when is the — what’s the threshold, I guess is what I’m saying? When should someone — what are some of the red flags in going, okay, I need an IPO, I need an EPO? Because you said —


JOHN RAMSEY: — there’s some kind of immediate danger. Stalking, a threat. So —


JOHN RAMSEY: So what — what is the — the bar?

JOHN SCHMIDT: Yeah. If you’ve got physical injury going on, or a threat of physical injury, someone threatening to hurt you, kill you, that’s a problem. And if you’ve been in a dating relationship or if you have that domestic relationship, then you can seek protection. Sexual abuse, you know, that’s a problem. And — and then you have assault, which is, you know, unwanted physical contact. And those are defined in different levels in the statutes. And so — and stalking. And stalking is kind of the trick because you — you get that kind of behavior with people who can’t let it go sometimes in a relationship, right? So it’s a course of conduct that someone has directed toward another person, evidencing two or more events, with no legitimate purpose, and — and that gets to be a little bit of a trick because sometimes — you know, I could call you and say, “Hey, John, you know, I need to talk to you about,” I don’t know, “sports for the kids,” right?


JOHN SCHMIDT: And that’s a legitimate purpose, talking about something going on with the kids. But if it’s just that, you know, someone’s pining over you, well, that’s a whole different bowl of fish.

JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah. They’re showing up just to —

JOHN SCHMIDT: Yeah. No — no legitimate purpose there.

JOHN RAMSEY: For no other reason.

JOHN SCHMIDT: Right. Yeah. You’re somewhere, and they show up, or they’re driving past all the time. There’s no legitimate purpose to that. So — now, if they’re on their way to work, and the — you know, you live on the same street, that’s a different story. And that’s where all the facts kind of come together. But you have to have that — it has to be directed toward someone and causes that person to be seriously annoyed, intimidated, harassed, you know, alarmed, and so — and that would cause a reasonable person to feel that way. But the real trick is the second prong of the test, and the second prong of the test is that they have to make an implicit or explicit threat of physical injury or, you know, death, that kind of thing, toward the — the alleged victim.


JOHN SCHMIDT: And so you’ll get this behavior where they’re parking next to you all the time, they’re following you in the hallways, you know, this kind of stuff, but they don’t make the threat, so it fails to meet —

JOHN RAMSEY: So do — do the parents need to file for this EPO or IPO, or can a minor file for this? How does that work, John? Do the parents need to get involved?

JOHN SCHMIDT: I don’t think there’s anything stopping a — a 16- or 17-year-old from going and filing that kind of thing if they have the mobility. I — as a minor, though, I would expect a parent —

JOHN RAMSEY: To get involved?

JOHN SCHMIDT: — to do it for them, yeah, or be there with them when they’re doing it. It — but if you’re at risk of harm, I don’t think there’s anything stopping you from seeking the protection of the courts.

JOHN RAMSEY: Right. Right. Yeah, that’s number one.

JOHN SCHMIDT: Because the — and the juvenile courts are uniquely situated for this kind of thing. They — they really do a good job of working with juveniles and that kind of stuff.

JOHN RAMSEY: Now, with the — with family law attorneys like yourself, with the family court system that we have — you said you love these judges. The — they — the — the —

JOHN SCHMIDT: I — I love them.

JOHN RAMSEY: The protection is available. That’s the bottom line here.

JOHN SCHMIDT: A hundred percent. They —

JOHN RAMSEY: There you go.

JOHN SCHMIDT: Every family court judge I know — every one — whether you agree with them most of the time or not, every one of them puts the kids first, and every one of them is looking to protect the kids and do what’s best for the children, and it’s a — it’s a burning passion of every one of the family court judges. They really are amazing.

JOHN RAMSEY: It’s nice to hear, especially from someone who’s involved, you know, with family law. So we mentioned IPOs, EPOs, divorce, child custody. Talk about other family law issues —


JOHN RAMSEY: — that you handle, John, before we let you go.

JOHN SCHMIDT: Absolutely. So, you know, we do custody, divorces, adoptions, CPS cases, and then criminal representation. So this week was a good week. We had a lot of good things happen.


JOHN SCHMIDT: Parents get kids back, cases get settled. You know, we did some really good work this week, so pretty happy about it. They call Patty at 502-509-1490, and Patty will set you up. Teresa’s there now, but I don’t know if Teresa’s answering the phone. And Kaitlyn starts Monday, so pretty excited about the whole staff, so…

JOHN RAMSEY: And I’m excited whenever you’re here. Family Law Friday, with the law offices of John Schmidt. He, of course, is attorney John Schmidt. All right. We’ll take a little break here.




I do hereby certify that the said matter was reduced to type written form under my direction, and constitutes a true record of the recording as taken, all to the best of my skill and ability. I certify that I am not a relative or employee of either counsel, and that I am in no way interested financially, directly or indirectly, in this action.