CO protection orders: What you should do if you are the subject of one

Protection orders are a serious matter and people should make sure that they have legal counsel and that they adhere to the terms in the order.

A protection order in Colorado is a serious matter since it is based off of accusations of violent behavior. It can especially play an important role in cases that involve the custody of children or a divorce, influencing court decisions and affecting the parent-child relationship. Therefore, it is important for people to understand what these orders are and what to do if they find themselves the subject of one.

When can a protective order be issued?

According to the city of Longmont, a protection order can be obtained by people against another person they were romantically involved with, a person who lived in the same residence or with them, and someone who was related to them or is related to them. In family law matters, people seeking an order of protection will need to provide some sort of proof that the other person is a threat.

The reasons justifying the granting of a protective order include the following:

  • Domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Threats of physical injury
  • Sexual assault or abuse

Additionally, an order may be granted by the court if proof of emotional abuse is presented. Emotional abuse is usually reserved for cases involving at-risk adults or the elderly.

Is an attorney needed at the hearing?

For any legal proceeding, people should have legal representation. According to the Colorado Judicial Branch, people who are the subject of a protection order can immediately lose visitation with their children if the other parent can convince the judge that the children are in danger. They also will lose any custody they hold and be forced to leave the family home.

In most cases, courts will grant a temporary civil protection order without holding an actual hearing. People who are the subject of a temporary order will have the opportunity to present their side of the story at a hearing before a permanent order is issued, however. Attorneys can help people prepare for this hearing, gathering witness statements, character statements and evidence that refutes the claims being made by the other parent.

Can a protection order be ignored?

Protection orders are legal documents and ignoring them can land people in trouble with law enforcement and the courts. They can find themselves back in court facing a motion for contempt, where they will need to spend additional time and money to convince the court that they did not violate the terms of the order.

In most cases, however, people who do not obey a protection order could be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. This can be even more costly since now they have to defend themselves in a criminal court as well as deal with the family court - especially if they are trying to get custody of their children or visitation. People should also understand that they cannot ignore the terms of the order even if the other person is okay with it. To protect themselves, they should make sure that they and the other person go back to the court to have changes made in the order.

Family law matters in Denver can be complex and confusing. Therefore, people may find it helpful to meet with an experienced attorney who can guide them through the process.