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Courts provide several types of restraining orders for persons who require immediate, emergency protection. In Colorado, restraining orders are available for divorce, criminal and emergency protection situations.
Dissolution of marriage petitions carry a mandatory restraining order that prevents marital partners from dissipating or wasting marital assets such as savings accounts, investments and retirement benefits. This includes an order to keep insurance in effect. These orders are designed to keep the marital assets in a status quo, and they have little to do with protecting people.
Criminal restraining orders are placed into effect to protect complaining parties and witnesses in a criminal case.
These orders restrain a criminal defendant from “harassing, molesting, tampering with or intimidating witnesses”. The order is designed to prevent people from putting muscle on someone who is a witness or victim in a case.
Emergency Protection Cases
Protection orders are classified as temporary (the first to be obtained, and effective when the restrained person is served) and permanent (where the petitioner and the restrained person appear before a judge at a hearing after the restrained person is served).
A permanent restraining order hearing requires showing evidence to convince a judge that a drastic remedy of this kind is warranted. The petitioner requests a “no contact, no harassment” order at this hearing because of harm, threat of harm and/or stalking by the restrained person. If the judge hears evidence sufficient to convince the court that such actions have occurred, then the restraining order is made permanent. Any violation of the order is a misdemeanor and can become a felony if repeated.
Permanent Protection Orders = No Firearms
Anyone who is the subject of a permanent protection order is prohibited by federal law from owning or obtaining a firearm. The restrained person is harmed by this restraining order in any dissolution and child custody matter. In most proceedings, judges naturally consider the restrained person as less than the petitioner because they are just a little bit out there. Protection orders can be abused by domestic relations litigants and their lawyers to get the upper hand on the “restrained” person. With such an order in hand, the petitioner can manipulate the system and dictate the course of the domestic relations proceeding.
Domestic Relations: Tips for Obtaining a Restraining Order
Recently, I took part in a two-day hearing over a domestic-relations-based protection order case. I felt as though we were trying the entire divorce matter in this hearing! However, the judge expressed his desire to hear a lot of evidence before issuing the restraining order. If you are facing such a petition, do not give in. Speak with and hire a lawyer who regularly prepares and tries cases. Make sure your lawyer has a tough attitude about obtaining a restraining order because judges are sometimes hesitant to grant them.
Shaun Kaufman Law is a law firm that thinks court first and deals later.