By: Janette Jordan
Protection Orders in Colorado are serious business and can be issued either as part of a stand alone, county court case, or as part of a divorce or custody case. When dealing with issues of domestic violence, violence, harassments, or threats, the hardest thing to prepare for is in the unknown. For a fair amount of our restraining order clients, obtaining a temporary protection order may be the first time they have had to navigate the legal system. Below are some common questions that we see hear from people regarding temporary protection orders that may assist those reading this post.
- What does it cost to file for a restraining order?
The cost to file for a temporary protection order against an individual is $97.00. However, that fee is waived if and when the court finds that you are a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. This means that the court will also waive the fees associated with having to have the Restrained Person personally served by the sheriff’s office.
- Where do I file?
This is an important aspect that can be easily overlooked. You need to determine which county you wish to file in. For example- Adams, Broomfield, Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Weld, Douglas, etc. You may file in the county in which one of the following applies: It is the county where the incident(s) occurred, it is the county where you or the other party live, or it is the county in which you or other party work.
- Should I have my attorney present?
It entirely up to you if you wish to have retained counsel attend your temporary protection order hearing. Typically, the temporary restraining order is issued the same day that you file the Complaint/Motion, so it may be hard to find counsel that can attend with you on such short notice. Additionally, most people are able to wade through obtaining the temporary protection order on their own. That being said, having to restate the events that are leading up to you requesting the protection order can be extremely emotional, painful, and stressful. Making sure you say the right things to persuade the court to issue the temporary order matters. For these reasons, some people ask that one of our attorneys attend even the initial hearing with them, making sure they are represented in court from beginning to end.
- How long does it take?
Be aware that most counties will hold their temporary protection orders all together at specific days and times, which means that you have a set time to appear and wait for your case to be called. It is possible that you could sit for 5 minutes, 20 minutes, to more than an hour waiting for your case to be called. Once called, things generally move quickly in terms of your presentation to the court. You will then likely wait 10 to 20 minutes more for paperwork.
- Will the other party be there too?
The short answer is “no.” The person whom you are seeking an order against, unless you informed them directly, would have no knowledge of your Complaint/Motion being filed or the proceedings. Typically, you speak with the judicial officer the same day that you submit your Complaint/Motion, outside of the presence or awareness of the other party. In legal terms, temporary protection orders are issues “ex parts,” meaning with only one party present.
- Will it just be me and the Judge in the Courtroom?
No. It will be anyone else who is also seeking a temporary protection order that same day. For example, in an Adams County protection order case, TPO hearings are held every day at 11AM and 3PM. Depending on what time you file your Complaint/Motion, your time slot for attendance will be dictated by the court. At that time, they will call each individual on a case by case basis. If you miss your case being called, the court will dismiss your request.
- The Judge granted my TPO, is my protection order now permanent?
Not yet. This is called a temporary protection order because it is only in effect for a certain window of time. Since the other party was unable to appear and respond to your initial Complaint/Motion, the court will schedule a Permanent Protection Order Hearing to take place within fourteen (14) days after granting your TPO. You must have the other party personally served and provide the court with proof of this by your next hearing.
- What happens at the Permanent Protection Order Hearing?
I could write a whole other blog post regarding this question alone, and sometime soon I will do just that. You have the option of requesting that the TPO be dropped, the hearing continued, or you immediately go to hearing to present evidence as to why it should be made permanent. The Court will hold you to the same evidentiary standard as attorneys. If you choose this route, you must be prepared to call witnesses, present evidence, and offer testimony. If the other side shows up, their primary goal will be to discredit your allegations, with the hope of having the TPO dismissed.
It our firm’s goal to provide our clients with the thorough and diligent representation they deserve when dealing with protection order issues. If you have any questions regarding Temporary Protection Orders, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified restraining order attorney.