Separations can involve anger and fear. Even people with no history of abuse or violence become threatening when the most important relationships in their lives are changing. That is one reason protection orders can be useful during divorce proceedings. The end of abusive relationships can be very dangerous, and victims have a right to call on any intervention available to help them stay safe.However, sometimes protection orders are misused, especially where children are involved.
Since temporary protection orders are granted ex parte, meaning the restrained party doesn’t get to attend court and usually does not even know about the order until it has been granted and served, they are too easy to employ as an intimidation tool, a way to deny access to kids during custody fights, or just a way to wear down the resources and resolve of an opposing party.
Whether you find yourself in need of protection or restrained by a temporary order, the following information regarding the overall protection order process in Colorado should be helpful.
Temporary protection orders are typically granted when any person requests one from a Court, pays the filing fee, and justifies the request by stating that they believe they are in imminent danger. Temporary protection orders usually require absolutely no contact with the protected person(s) and usually include a home or work address where the restrained party must not appear. The order is valid upon notice to the restrained party, which is often served by a Sheriff’s Department upon request by the protected party. Violation of the order is a misdemeanor, but often results in jail time for those convicted in Denver Metro counties.
A hearing to determine whether the temporary order should be made permanent will be set at the time the temporary order is granted by the court. That hearing is typically set within 14 days of the date the temporary order is granted. The time, date and place of that hearing will be indicated on the temporary protection order and the restrained party is expected to attend that hearing.
At the permanent protection order hearing the person requesting that the order be made permanent (the protected party) usually must prove that the restrained party was notified of the temporary order and served notice of the time and place of the permanent orders hearing. If the protected party provides proof of that notice and the restrained party fails to appear to object, the court will make the order permanent.
If the restrained party appears for the hearing, the protected party will have the burden to show that a permanent order is needed to prevent further harm. The legal standard which applies at this hearing is more difficult to meet than the standard for the temporary order. If the court makes the order permanent, it will likely remain in effect for several years before the restrained party is able to even request a modification.
The impact of a protection order on a domestic case can be serious. There is always the potential of bias from a judge or jury, but more immediately, protection orders make successful negotiation in other areas more difficult, impede contact with children, complicate property exchanges, etc. Protection orders typically also include other terms such as prohibitions on possession of firearms and even alcohol use.