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Understanding Your Rights:Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Daniel Noffsinger - Monday, October 27, 2014

Domestic violence is a serious problem, not only in Colorado, but throughout the United States. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Female victims constitute an overwhelming majority of family violence victims (73%) and about 1.3 million women are victims of a physical assault by a partner each year.

Domestic violence impacts not only the abused victim, but the entire family, friends, colleagues and co-workers, and the community. Domestic violence does not discriminate and can occur to anyone, regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or national origin. Furthermore, domestic violence can occur in a variety of forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological abuse. Domestic violence behavior is characterized as any action that is meant to intimidate, coerce, frighten, scare, hurt, or demean. In short, domestic violence behavior is an attempt by one individual to exercise power and control over another individual.

What is a domestic violence restraining order?

In addition to assistance from the police in domestic violence incidents, the Colorado courts also provide a remedy for victims of domestic violence. In Colorado, a domestic violence victim (petitioner) can petition the court to get a restraining order against the abuser (respondent/defendant).

A domestic violence victim can petition the court for a restraining order if the victim is in fear of personal harm. A restraining order may be enforced within the state or throughout the United States.

How do I obtain a restraining order?

To obtain a restraining order, you have “to state that the defendant hurt or threatened to hurt you and that you are in imminent (likely) danger of further abuse or threats if the order is not issued.”

Colorado has two stages for a restraining order. A victim must first obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO), which lasts up to 14 days. A victim will complete a complaint form and appear before a judge for a hearing. At the hearing, the victim will provide information regarding harm or threats from the abuser. The defendant will not be present at this hearing.

When the TRO expires, the victim must return to court for another hearing to obtain a permanent restraining order. The defendant may or may not be present at the hearing. The length of the permanent restraining order is left up to the discretion of the judge.

Contact a Colorado Springs domestic violence attorney

If you need to obtain a restraining order, an experienced domestic relations attorney can help you with this process. While it is not necessary to have an attorney to obtain a restraining order, the process to obtain one can involve significant paperwork. Additionally, a domestic violence attorney can help present your story and evidence to the judge in order to ensure that you obtain the relief you are seeking.

Noffsinger Law has significant experience assisting domestic violence victims obtain restraining orders. We understand this is a trying time in your life, and we want to be there to help you through this process. Contact our firm today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.