How Can I Get a Restraining Order?

If you are involved in a relationship that has become violent, or has threatened violence, getting a restraining order against the person imposing harm can help keep you safe.

What Is a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders, sometimes referred to as civil protection orders, are orders from the Colorado courts that protect a vulnerable person by prohibiting communication or contact from their aggressor. These orders prevent the restrained party from contacting the vulnerable party under any circumstances and often require that the restrained party remain a certain distance from the vulnerable party’s house, place of work, or school.

Restraining orders are issued in Colorado if the court finds that the person seeking the order is in danger. Violating a restraining order is a crime.

Benefits of a Restraining Order

In order to protect the vulnerable party from the person endangering them, the court has the power to establish boundaries through civil protection orders. These can include:

  • Preventing the person from harming or threatening the protected person or their children
  • Prohibiting all contact with the protected person or their children
  • Prohibiting the person from entering the protected person’s home, or a home where they are visiting
  • Granting temporary custody and control over shared children to the protected party for up to a year
  • Prohibiting the person from interfering with or entering the protected person’s place of work or school
  • Prohibiting the person from interacting with the protected person’s pets

Most of these protections are specifically related to immediate physical danger, however, the court can also help protect someone from being ruined financially. The court can force the restrained person to continue contributing to the household financially by paying bills and childcare expenses. Restraining orders can also prohibit the restrained party from hiding useful financial assets.

What Types of Civil Protection Orders Are There?

Not all restraining orders are built the same, and they are granted situationally. In many cases, such as domestic abuse, they serve to protect an individual from immediate harm and last for a short period of time (usually 14 days). In other situations, they are granted permanently, such as when someone is being stalked. Colorado has three types of protection orders.

Temporary Protection Orders

A temporary protection order, also known as an ex parte protection order, can be granted if a judge believes that the individual requesting it is in immediate danger. These orders can be granted by the judge without needing to notify the restrained party. The restrained party does not need to be present in court. Temporary protection orders cannot be denied if the only reason for the denial is that the abuse or threats happened days or weeks before the individual filed for the order.

Temporary protection orders are meant to protect individuals in the interim between filing for the order and the court date for a potentially permanent order. These orders usually last up to 14 days. Note that temporary protection orders are not legally enforceable until the restricted party has been personally served the order. Specifically, temporary protection orders can:

  • Force the restrained party to stop threatening or harming the protected individual and their family
  • Force the restrained party to stop contacting the protected individual and their family
  • Force the restrained party to move if they share a living space with the protected individual
  • Force the restrained party to keep a certain distance from the protected individual’s place of work or school
  • Grant temporary control over shared children to the protected individual, including decision-making related to preventing abuse or preventing the children from witnessing abuse
  • Force the restrained party to continuing paying their existing financial duties and legal obligations that pertain to the household they once shared with the protected individual
  • Prevent the restrained party from stealing or harming pets owned by the protected individual or their children
  • Disallow the restrained party from possessing firearms or purchasing firearms during the time the order is in place
  • Force the restrained party to turn over any firearms they currently own to law enforcement or a licensed dealer
  • Enforce any other rules a judge deems essential to maintain the safety of the protected individual and their family

Permanent Protection Orders

At the hearing that comes after a temporary protection order is granted, the judge has a couple of options regarding how to proceed. If both parties agree, the temporary order can be extended for up to a year. However, if the court finds that the restrained party has already committed an act of domestic violence and may do it again without an order in place, they can grant a permanent protection order. The permanent order may have different restrictions than the temporary one, if necessary.

In some cases, a permanent order will include provisions regarding the care and custody of children. These provisions will last for one year. To get a more permanent solution to custody, the protected party can file a custody petition. Permanent protection orders can cover all of the same provisions as temporary orders and more.

Emergency Protection Orders

If law enforcement has a reason to believe that someone is in immediate danger of domestic abuse, or that a child is in immediate danger of sexual or domestic abuse, they can request an emergency protection order. These orders are usually filed if the courts are not open to approve a temporary order. Emergency orders have a more limited scope, and can:

  • Force the restrained party to stop contacting and abusing the protected party and their children
  • Force the restrained party to move out of a living situation they share with the protected party
  • Give the protected party temporary control over shared minor children
  • Force the abuser to stop contacting the protected party at work or school
  • Prevent the restrained party from stealing or harming pets owned by the protected individual or their children
  • Help find temporary care for pets owned by the protected party

How Do You File for a Restraining Order?

Anyone seeking a restraining order will need to file for a temporary protection order first. This can be done through form JDF-402. Other supplemental forms may be required depending on the individual’s specific circumstances. Usually, a hearing regarding the issue is held the same day the application is filed. The restrained party does not have to be present for the hearing. Once the temporary order is granted, it will include a date and time for a hearing regarding a permanent order. Anyone who has experienced domestic violence will not be charged a fee for filing a temporary order.

The court will decide if a permanent order is necessary at the hearing scheduled on the temporary order. The protected party needs to be able to tell the court that the restrained party hurt them or threatened to hurt them, and that they will be in further danger if the order is not granted.

What if the Abuser Lives in Another State?

Colorado courts might not have jurisdiction, or power, over an abuser who lives in a different state. In such situations, the judge would not be able to grant a restraining order against that person. However, certain circumstances allow the court to have jurisdiction over an abuser from out of state, such as:

  • An abuser who has a connection to Colorado, such as regular visits for work or to see family. The court will also have jurisdiction over the abuser if they lived in Colorado but fled after the abuse took place.
  • If the abuse took place in Colorado. For example, if an abuser has called the protected party with threats or has harassed them online, that abuse technically took place in Colorado for the protected party.
  • If the abuser is served with the petition from the court while present in Colorado, even if they do not live there.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you are seeking a restraining order and need legal advice, contact the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. today. We understand that such cases are emotionally draining and difficult to experience, which is why we work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to keep them safe with protection orders. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, we are committed to helping the people we represent remain safe and free of worry. As a family-owned and operated firm, our top priority is to ensure your safety and the safety of your family. Reach out for a free consultation today at (719) 212-4227 or via our online contact form.

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