Protection Orders and Domestic Violence
Sadly, domestic violence is more common than many people think and can include many types of behavior other than physical violence. In Colorado, the legal definition of domestic violence can include any act or threatened act of violence as well as crimes against a person or property. In every instance of domestic violence, regardless of whether it is emotional, physical, or both, the perpetrator hopes to achieve one or more of the following:
These factors can be physical, psychological, or even financial in nature, but no matter what form domestic violence takes, it can have a dramatic impact on every aspect of a divorce or child custody case.
The goal in every case where domestic violence is involved should be to provide the victim(s) with all the support–legally, emotionally, and financially–they need to re-establish a sense of safety and independence. This goal can be accomplished in a number of different ways within the domestic relations courts, from seeking enforcement of existing orders to obtaining or modifying a civil protection order on either a temporary or permanent basis.
Protection orders, also known as “restraining orders,” are court orders that allow law enforcement and the courts to legally restrict the restrained person from taking certain actions. The most common restrictions sought in civil protection orders include maintaining physical distance from the protected person(s), exclusion from a shared home or other locations, and limiting or eliminating communication with the protected person(s).
Fortunately for victims of domestic violence, protection orders are widely enforced, even in cases where the order originated from another state. Even so, it is important to get the terms of your protection order right.
Whether domestic violence has occurred only once or over the course of many years, every victim wants and deserves to find a way to feel safe again – mentally, physically, and financially. The importance of this need cannot be overstated, whether you are seeking a protection order on its own or within the context of your divorce or child custody case. If a divorce or child custody case between the victim(s) and the perpetrator has already begun, or will begin soon, victims are permitted to seek a protection order at anytime: before the case is opened, while the case is pending, or even after permanent orders have issued.
If you have concerns for your or your children’s safety, you should consider whether a protection order can help address the fears you are experiencing, in both the short and the long term. A protection order is more than just a piece of paper; it is a statement of defiance and a proclamation of self-worth. It is the law’s way of letting the perpetrator know that they will have to answer to the courts from that point forward if they do not treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.
Whether there has been domestic violence between two parties is a question no domestic relations judge can ignore, regardless of whether a protection order exists. It impacts nearly every aspect of a divorce or custody case. Having an experienced attorney at your side will help you understand how all the pieces fit together.
If you have found, or need help finding, the courage to seek a protection order to preserve and reinvigorate your life, please let our experience and commitment to your well-being be a resource to you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.