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Orders of Protection in Divorce and Family Law Cases

Hey, Guys, Jessica Lasky here from Burnham Law to talk to you about protection orders in Colorado.

The first thing you have to do is look into where you need to file a protection order. That can either be in the jurisdiction in which you live, where incidents happen, or where the other party resides. The best thing to do is where you live.

You can go onto the Colorado Judicial Branch website and get all the forms you need or talk to an attorney about helping you fill them out.

The standard in Colorado is that you are in imminent danger of some kind of harm. And “imminent” means “likely to happen now.” It’s not some speculative fear of danger or the potential, it’s that you actually have an imminent fear. That’s not an easy burden to meet, but you can do it with specific evidence like text messages, phone calls, any threats to you by somebody, especially intimate partner relationships. Those are really important to get, and especially when things don’t rise to the level of a criminal case or if you don’t want to file a criminal case against somebody.

The process is that you go in before the court, you submit all your paperwork, and the judge will have an ex parte hearing with you. That just means it’s you and the judge. There may be some other people in the courtroom with you, but there are no attorneys unless you want to have one with you. But the other side is not there and won’t be present at that first hearing.

If you are granted a protection order, you’ll be set to have a hearing within two weeks of that date, and you have to get the other party served. If it’s a domestic violence case, they will serve those papers for free and usually go through the Sheriff’s Department. You can have somebody else serve like an individual process server as well, but you have to notify the other party. Otherwise, your protection order will be dismissed.

Once you go to that next hearing, there’s going to be a requirement that you show that if the other party isn’t restrained, they’re going to continue this behavior. That means that without this protection order, you’re not safe. And that can be a challenge because sometimes judges or magistrates have a hard time feeling like they have to predict the future. The best predictor of future behavior is past conduct and contact and things like that that you’ve had. But judges often are reluctant to issue a protection order because they don’t know what could happen next.

And protection orders, especially ones involving domestic violence, restrict that party from having a weapon. Judges take it very seriously because they are infringing on people’s rights, especially when it comes to guns and things like that.

Most of the time, if you’re trying to get a protection order, it’s difficult to put your kids on it because most courts want child-related issues to be dealt with in a divorce context or a custody case or things like that, and they don’t want to ever permanently restrict one parent from seeing their kids.

If you have any questions, or if you need assistance with this, please feel free to call us at Burnham, and we can help you in any way that we can.

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