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Temporary and Permanent Protection Orders

Civil protection orders (CPOs) can offer important protections to those who fear harm to themselves from others. They are governed by C.R.S. §§ 13-14-100.2, et seq. For example, they can be utilized to remove firearms from the possession of a person who has been found to have committed domestic violence. The civil protection orders differ from the mandatory orders issued in some criminal cases involving harm to others. CPOs are not limited to domestic violence, although most protection orders do relate to domestic violence. Outside of domestic violence, those who have been harmed by neighbors, for example, may obtain a CPO if they are in imminent danger. CPOs begin as temporary orders and then can be made permanent. Criminal protection orders, on the other hand, terminate once the case is concluded. Thus, even if one is protected by a criminal protection order, it may be wise to also obtain a CPO.

Domestic abuse comes in many forms. For example, in addition to physical harm, domestic abuse may consist of “financial control” and “document control”, such as withholding a passport, and other forms of control that make it more likely that a victim will return to the abuser due to fear of retaliation. Although domestic relations district courts can hear protection order matters when they are related to a domestic relations proceeding, this is generally limited to determining whether a temporary order should become permanent at the end of the domestic relations proceeding. For the most part county courts typically handle protection order matters. In practice it is difficult to obtain a permanent protection order based only on financial or emotional abuse, without physical abuse, except in the most egregious of circumstances.

Important Definitions

C.R.S. § 13-14-101 sets forth definitions related to protection orders. Some of the important definitions are:

Domestic abuse means 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. Domestic abuse may also include" any act, attempted act, or threatened act of violence against:

  • The minor children of either of the parties; or
  • An animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either of the parties or by a minor child of either of the parties, which threat, act, or attempted act is intended to coerce, control, punish, intimidate, or exact revenge upon either of the parties or a minor child of either of the parties." C.R.S. § 13-14-101(2).

Coercion includes compelling a person by force, threat of force, or intimidation to engage in conduct from which the person has the right or privilege to abstain, or to abstain from conduct in which the person has a right or privilege to engage.

Protection order means any order that "prohibits or restrains a party from contacting, harassing, injuring, intimidating, molesting, threatening, touching, stalking, or sexually assaulting or abusing any protected person or from entering or remaining on premises, or from coming within a specified distance of a protected person or premises, or from taking, transferring, concealing, harming, disposing of or threatening harm to an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by a protected person, or any other provision to protect the protected person from imminent danger to life or health that is issued by a court of this state or a municipal court . . . ." C.R.S. § 13-14-101(2.4)(a).

Civil Procedure For Protection Orders

A Temporary Protection Order (TPO) is issued on an ex parte basis and lasts only until the Permanent Protection Order (PPO) hearing, which must be set to occur within 14 days of the issuance of the temporary protection order. A temporary protection order may be issued against any person who is at least 10 years old. A TPO may be issued to aid in preventing assault and threatened bodily harm, domestic abuse, abuse of the elderly, sexual assault or abuse, and stalking. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(1)(a). Although, it is not necessary for the Petitioner to file a complaint with a police department, in practice, as with all evidentiary hearings, having evidence is important to obtain a PPO. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(1)(b). If courts are left with "he said, she said" evidence, it may be substantially more difficult to obtain a PPO.

The protection order process begins with obtaining a TPO. To obtain a TPO, the petitioner appears in person and files a Verified Motion for Civil Protection Order. Many people represent themselves in a TPO proceeding. It is more common for a petitioner to have legal representation at the evidentiary PPO hearing. The standardized JDF forms are required to be used for the filing. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(2). Temporary protection order hearings are ex parte and based on the testimony of the petitioner. They generally do involve the presentation of evidence other than through testimony. Generally, the petitioner testifies on the same day as filing the petition. All judicial districts have protection order courts available Monday through Friday, however times when petitioners are heard may vary.

The legal standard for a TPO is that the petitioner, and possibly children of the relationship, is in “imminent danger.” C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(7). In determining whether imminent danger exists, the court “shall consider all relevant evidence concerning the safety and protection of the persons seeking the protection order.” C.R.S. §13-14-104.5(7)(a). The court may not deny a CPO based on the fact that a criminal protection order is in place. C.R.S. §13-14-104.5(7)(a). Even a business may apply for a CPO if imminent danger exists to employees of a company or business. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(7)(b).

When a temporary protection order is entered, a copy of the petition, the temporary protection order, and the citation setting forth the date and time of the permanent protection order hearing must be personally served upon the respondent. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(9). The respondent must be informed in the citation that failure to appear may result in the issuance of a bench warrant, and that the temporary protection order may become permanent without further notice. Id. The PPO hearing date must not be set more than 14 days after the issuance of the temporary order. However, if the petitioner is not successful in serving the respondent, the court must extend the TPO once and issue an alias citation with a new hearing date. If service still is not accomplished after the continuation date, additional continuances are discretionary with the court. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(10).

When a protection order is issued, the respondent may return to a shared residence one time to obtain personal belongings accompanied by a police officer. The process is called a civil assist. The TPO itself must notify the restrained party of the limited ability to return to the residence. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(11)(a) and (b). If a domestic relations case is already pending, the request for a protection order should be made in the domestic case in district court. Any district court in which a domestic relations case is pending can enter temporary and permanent protection orders. C.R.S. §§ 13-14-104.5(5) and 14-10-108(3). In practice however, unless a protection order has already been issued, a domestic relations court may refer the matter back to county court for the issuance of an initial order.

Upon agreement of the parties a domestic relations court can continue the TPO until the final orders hearing. C.R.S. § 13-14-106(1)(c). All parties in domestic relations cases must disclose the existence of any protection orders. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(6). A party may move to consolidate the county and domestic relations court proceedings into the domestic relations court. C.R.C.P. 42. A TPO is not a final order subject to review by a higher court. However a PPO may be reviewed/appealed.

Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs

A knowledgeable and experienced divorce and family law attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. Give yourself the benefit of hiring one. This allows you to focus on moving on to a better future instead of spending your time attempting to navigate complex legal rules and procedures.

Sabra Janko from Janko Family Law is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who protects your best interests and ensures that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations. Contact us at 719-344-5523 for a free 30-minute informational consultation or complete our online form.

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