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Understanding Protective Orders in Domestic Violence Situations

Daniel Noffsinger - Monday, February 29, 2016

One of the most challenging aspects of living with domestic violence is understanding your legal options particularly when you are married to your abuser or share children with your abuser. If you are a victim or survivor of domestic violence it is likely that you have never reported the domestic violence incidents you have experienced to anyone. When you do report domestic violence incidents, one of the tools provided to you by the legal system is a protective order. The harsh reality is that no one can protect you or your children from harm if your partner or ex- partner tries to hurt you. You must have a safety plan to protect yourself and your children. One of the components of your safety plan needs to be a protective order.

Protective Order Defined

When you seek a protective order you ask a court to protect you from a person who is abusing you by requiring the abuser to stop or refrain from engaging in abusive behavior or stay away from you. If the abuser violates the protective order, he may be arrested and removed from your home by the police. Orders of protection protect you, your children, and your pets.

Any act, attempted act, or threatened act of violence, stalking, harassment, or coercion is domestic violence. The abuser is or was related to you by blood or marriage, lives or has lived with you, or is someone who you have had an intimate relationship with – no sex requirement.

Courts in Colorado can issue any of three types of orders of protection:

  • Temporary (ex parte) Protective Order: issued by a judge who believes you are in immediate danger, outside of the presence of the abuser, during the pendency of a proceeding responding to a domestic violence incident. It is only valid when the abuser is personally served.
  • Permanent Protective Order: issued by a judge, either in settlement of a domestic violence incident or after a hearing, for an unspecified time period.
  • Emergency Protective Order: requested by local law enforcement based on the belief that an adult or minor child is in immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, assault, stalking, sexual assault/abuse.

For more information about Colorado’s Protective Order statutes, click here.

Shared Children

Generally, an order of protection may include a provision for custody of the children shared by the survivor and the abuser. This provision is only valid for four months. The survivor needs to seek full custody or a modification of custody in a separate petition to address the abuser’s contact with the children.

Domestic Violence Statistics are Bleak
  • One in three female homicide victims are murdered by their current or former partner every year.
  • Domestic violence is most likely to take place between 6PM and 6AM.
  • More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home.
  • More than three million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year. (Source: Safe Horizon)

For more information about resources available to victims and survivors of domestic violence, click here.

Contact a Colorado Springs Divorce and Family Law Attorney

If you have any questions regarding divorce or custody determinations in domestic violence situations in Colorado, contact the attorneys at Noffsinger Law. Email or call Noffsinger Law and receive a free 45 minute consultation if you or someone you know has been arrested or is being charged with crime. Our office is located at 545 E. Pikes Peak Avenue, Suite 205, Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are open weekdays Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.