What is a protection order?
Also known as a “restraining order,” a civil protection order protects one individual from another individual’s actions or threats. A protection order is often used in domestic abuse cases and typically restricts the actions of the restrained individual from harming or approaching another.
How do I get a protection order?
You must file certain papers with the court. Local law enforcement have procedures to obtain an emergency protection order on your behalf when the courts are not open for regularly scheduled business.
Does it cost anything to file for a protection order?
There is a filing fee that you may have to pay. At the time of this writing the fee was $97.00. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or unlawful sexual contact you do not have to pay a fee. Also, if you are unable to pay the fee, you may ask the court to waive the filing fee by filing a Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit.
What do I need to file with the court to get a protection order?
You must file a Verified Complaint or Motion for Civil Protection Order. You can find forms for everything you need to file on the Colorado Judiciary’s website. A link to the website can be found in the resources section above. If you already have a divorce, custody, or domestic relations case you will be filing a motion. Check the box for a motion. If you do not already have a divorce, custody, or domestic relations case then you will be filing a complaint. Check the box for a complaint. Complete the remainder of the form. You must state that the defendant has hurt or threatened to hurt you and that you are in imminent danger of further abuse or threats if the protection order is not issued. You must give specific information about the abuse: what happened, when and where it happened, who was present during the alleged abuse, and whether any children were present at the time. You may also include any abuse that occurred in the past. You must also file an Information Sheet for Registering a Protection Order. You may also file an Incident Checklist to provide a more detailed history of the acts which have led you to seek protection from the court.
What if there are children involved?
If you intend to ask for temporary care and control, interim decision making, or parenting time for the children, or a protection order for the benefit of any minor child, you must complete an Affidavit Regarding Children and file it along with your complaint or motion and information sheet.
What happens after I file with the court?
After you have completed the required paperwork you will need to have those papers signed in front of a notary, or you may sign them before a clerk of the court when you file. A hearing will then be scheduled and the court will make a ruling on your protection order at the hearing. The clerk of the court should be able to provide you with information on when protection order hearings are held. Be prepared to answer questions about your request for a protection order and discuss issues regarding children at the hearing. The court will then make a ruling and, if warranted, it will issue a temporary protection order.
What happens after the hearing?
After the court issues the temporary protection order you should request two certified copies from the Clerk. One copy is for yourself, the other copy is for the other party whom you must serve. If there are children involved you may wish to obtain more copies for employers, the children’s schools, day-care providers, etc. Keep a copy of the protection order with you at all times. The court will give you a new date to appear. This new court date will be a hearing on whether to make your temporary protection order permanent. This hearing is typically 14 days after your first hearing. You must serve the other party before this hearing or request a continuance from the court. You must appear at the second hearing or your temporary protection order will automatically expire.
How do I serve the other party?
You can contact the local sheriff or police department and they will serve the other party for a fee. You may also have a private process server serve the other party. Anyone at least 18 years old who is not a party to the action and has an understanding of the rules of service may serve the defendant. Give a copy of the complaint or motion, the temporary protection order, and an Affidavit of Service to your process server. Make sure to get the affidavit of service back from your process server after they have served the other party and bring it with you to your next hearing.
What happens at the permanent orders hearing?
The other party has a right to appear at the hearing and contest the permanent restraining order. In that event, you must be prepared to present your evidence, such as your own testimony, testimony of witnesses, photographs of documented abuse, etc. You have the burden of proof to show by a preponderance of the evidence that you are in imminent danger of further abuse or threats if the protection order is not made permanent. If the court issues a permanent protection order and the restrained party is present you do not need to serve him/her with the permanent protection order. If the court issues a permanent protection order and the other party is not present you will need to serve the other party with a copy of the permanent protection order and file an Affidavit of Service with the court.