Legal Standards and Provisions for Protection Orders
Civil protection orders can be issued by courts to protect subjects of domestic abuse. There are specific legal standards, requirements and provisions set forth under Article 14 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. Protection order requests are generally filed in county court, however if there is an existing domestic relations case, they are usually heard in domestic relations court. In order to facilitate protection, a party may file an action where the acts occur, where either party resides, or where either party is employed. Law enforcement personnel are required to enforce violations of protection orders.
Domestic abuse is not just physical, but can also be financial and emotional. The statutory definition of domestic abuse is:
Any act, attempted act, or threatened act of violence, stalking, harassment, or coercion that is committed by any person against another person to whom the actor is currently or was formerly related, or with whom the actor is living or has lived in the same domicile, or with whom the actor is involved or has been involved in an intimate relationship. A sexual relationship may be an indicator or an intimate relationship but is never a necessary condition for finding an intimate relationship. Domestic abuse can include acts against minor children and animals related to the subject of abuse as well.
Among other protections, a protection order can prevent the following: contacting, harassing, injuring, intimidating, molesting, threatening, touching, stalking, or sexually assaulting or abusing any protected person.Temporary and Permanent Protection Order Process
A temporary protection order is generally obtained by an Ex Parte (request of one party without the other present) request alleging domestic abuse and imminent harm. If issued, the Court will set a show cause hearing for no later than 14 days from the issuance of the temporary order. Both parties are required to attend the show cause hearing. The requesting party has the burden of establishing by a preponderance of evidence that domestic abuse occurred and without issuance of a permanent order it is likely to continue. Imminent danger is not a requirement for issuance of a permanent protection order.
The show cause hearing is an evidentiary hearing though with abbreviated procedural requirements than general civil actions. For example, there is no requirement to exchange witness and exhibit lists and a Joint Trial Management Certificate. If the Responding party does not appear at the show cause hearing, the Court will most likely issue a permanent protection order. If the filing party does not appear, the Court will most likely dismiss the case. If both parties agree to continuance of the temporary protection order, the Court may continue the temporary order for up to one year. Parties can also agree to a no contact order, which is like a contract. The no contact order is generally mutual, however can also restrain just one of the parties from contact.
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