If a domestic partner or spouse commits domestic violence toward you or another member of your household such as your children, you have the right to petition for a protection order, commonly known as a restraining order, in Colorado. Depending on your situation, you may request a Temporary Order of Protection, which may become a permanent one, or if you called the police as the victim of domestic violence, law enforcement may issue a criminal protection order for you and your loved ones during the investigation.
No matter your circumstances, you should reach out to an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process of restraining orders. This is usually one step towards ensuring your safety before filing for divorce if you are married and/or obtaining permanent custody of your minor children.
In What Circumstances Can I File for an Order of Protection?
If you or your child has suffered any of the following, you may file an order of protection:
- Physical assault
- Sexual abuse
- Verbal or emotional abuse
- Threat of violence
Although the law does not require that you hire an attorney, you should do so to ensure that you provide all the necessary forms and supporting documents when submitting your petition. A lawyer can also accompany you to the court hearings.
You need to submit the following documents when petitioning for a protection order:
- All filled out and signed forms that the court requires
- Detailed accounts of your reasons for seeking the protection order
- Proofs supporting your allegations such as photographs of injuries or domestic violence-related medical appointments
Providing a thorough list of what led you to seek this restraining order plays a central role in obtaining a judge’s approval and increasing your and your children’s safety.
How Long Does a Protection Order Last?
The length of a protection order depends on which type is in place. A Temporary Protection Order lasts two weeks in Colorado, and you can request that it becomes permanent during follow-up court hearings.
Other orders of protection can last for the following duration:
- Mandatory Protection Order when law enforcement is investigating your abuser for criminal charges and lasts for the course of the investigation
- Civilian Protection Order that can last up to a year
- Permanent Protection Order
Regardless of the type of restraining order in place, demonstrating the validity of your claim is key to ensuring the order stays in place and/or becomes permanent.
Permanent Civil Protection Order. A permanent civil protection order occurs if a court finds that a person is indeed endangered by the individual who they requested temporary civil protection against. Once a permanent civil protection order is filed against you, you cannot petition for its removal for four years.
What Can an Order of Protection Do?
The details of each protection order depend on your specific situation, but an order of protection in Colorado can achieve multiple goals, including:
- Granting you temporary child custody
- Granting you temporary possession of the marital home even if your name is on the lease or deed
- Minimizing or forbidding contact of specific or all kinds between your family and the abuser
- Prohibiting the abuser from owning or possessing a firearm
Can My Abuser Contest the Order?
They may contest it and hire a lawyer to challenge your claims during the court hearings. However, if you obtain a permanent protection order, the restrained individual cannot contest it or petition a modification for two years.
Working with a lawyer can help you build a strong case to secure the order of protection you and your loved ones need to stay safe.
What Happens If My Abuser Violates the Protection Order?
If your abuser violates the protection order, no matter its type, they may face arrest and charges of contempt of court. This can result in up to $5,000 in fines and up to 18 months in jail.
Choose Clawson & Clawson, LLP to Protect Your Family and Future
Our team has extensive experience with family law cases, including orders of protection. We can help you find a solution that meets your needs and protects your interests. From the original petition to helping you navigate follow-up legal proceedings to secure custody of your children and filing for divorce, our attorneys are here to support your family.
You can expect compassionate and timely representation at every step of your case, including if you seek modifications to specific court orders to ensure your and your loved ones’ safety and well-being.
Do you need a family law attorney to help you file or modify a protection order in Colorado Springs, or the Denver Metro Area? Contact Clawson & Clawson, LLP, today at (719) 602-5888 to schedule a consultation!