If you are seeking a protection order against your partner or spouse, or have been served with a protection order by your significant other, you are not alone. Many parties in domestic cases experience a civil protection order proceeding. A civil protection order is not criminal in nature, but protects parties suffering from abuse by their partner, either temporarily or permanently.
The Colorado legislature noted in its explanation of the civil protection order statutes that protection for victims of domestic abuse, whether physical, emotional, or mental, need this kind of legal protection “not only in cases that may end in dissolution of marriage but also in other circumstances, including cases in which reconciliation may occur.” C.R.S. §13-14-100.2.
If you need immediate protection from your spouse or domestic partner, contact your local county court for information about the time each day that the court accepts civil protection order complaints and holds initial hearings on those complaints. All of the court forms you will need and instructions are located at the Colorado Judicial Branch website: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=24.
The judge or magistrate at your initial hearing, which does not require the other party to be present, will grant a temporary protection order if he or she finds that an “imminent danger exists.” C.R.S. §13-14-104.5. If a temporary order is issued, the clerk will set another hearing within 14 days. Before then, you must serve the other party with the temporary order, and you both must appear at the next hearing to either agree to continue the temporary order for a certain amount of time, or for the judge to decide whether the protection order should be made permanent.
In domestic cases, the protection order is often consolidated into the domestic case, and continued temporarily until the conclusion of the domestic case, at which point the parties can decide to dismiss the protection order, include some version of a “no-contact” order in the domestic case, or make the protection order permanent.
The legal standard for the judge to make a protection order permanent is whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, the responding party “has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of a civil protection order and that unless restrained will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the protected person.” C.R.S. §13-14-106.
A permanent protection order truly is permanent, but the Respondent may request the court to modify or dismiss the order after four years. While this protection order is civil in nature, the consequences of violating this order are serious and can include criminal charges. Other consequences of a permanent protection order may include prohibition from possessing a firearm and elimination of communication with a former partner or your children.
If you need help filing a complaint for a civil protection order, attending the hearing for the permanent civil protection order, or defending against an order, please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Margulis. We are available to help with all of your family law needs.