Divorce, especially when domestic violence is involved, is scary. However, a civil restraining order can help Colorado residents enter the divorce process in a much safer position. As such, this week, we will go over the civil restraining order.
Anyone who is a victim of violence may get a civil restraining order. This order is enforceable state- and nationwide. The process here is in two stages: obtaining a temporary restraining order (lasts up to 14 days), and then the hearing for the permanent restraining order. The PRO length can be as long as the judge deems necessary.
TROs and PROs have several advantages. First, immediate relief. The TRO can be issued on the same day requested with no criminal charges needed (or even a call to the police). Second, no attorney is needed, but the courts recommend one. Third, it provides protection through ordering the defendant to stay away and not contact the filer, remove them from the home, give temporary control of children, and set or deny parenting time.
If the courts are not open, the local police have procedures to get emergency protective orders. Otherwise, when an EPO is not needed (normal business hours), the county’s court clerk and domestic violence program can help fill out forms and provide information.
There is no fee or court charges, if the filer is a victim of domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault. But, even if a payment is required, the filer can file a motion to waive costs form, which will either waive the fee or allow the filer to pay later.
If the filer has not retained counsel, when they arrive at the court, they will fill out the complaint and other required forms. After, they will have a hearing with the judge without the need for the defendant’s presence.
The filer must state that the abuser threatened or hurt them, and that the filer is in imminent danger, if the order is not issued. This must include specific and detailed information about the abuse (i.e., what happened, who did it, who was there, when it happened, etc.), including any past abuse.
Victims do not have to live in abusive marriages. They do have options, including divorce. If one is not seeking divorce because they feel unsafe, a civil restraining order can help. This can keep the abusive spouse away, out of the house, and away from the children.