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Permanent Protection Orders: just how permanent are they?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2021 | Domestic Violence

A Permanent Protection Order can be somewhat difficult to obtain. So, the possibility of its “permanent” nature being at risk can be concerning for those seeking the protection order. While modification and dismissal are difficult, it is important to be aware that both are possible.

To obtain a Permanent Protection Order, you first have to obtain a Temporary Protection Order. In order for the Court to grant a Temporary Protection Order, the person seeking the protection order must show that they are in imminent danger, if the person they are afraid of is not “restrained”. In other words, the danger you are facing must be close in time to your request for a Temporary Protection Order (either before or after the request to the Court). For example, sometimes the act of filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Allocation of Parental Responsibilities matter can create cause for concern of imminent danger, especially if the reason for divorce or custody is the result of domestic violence.

Temporary Protection Orders may be issued for a number of reasons, including to prevent assault and threatened bodily harm, to prevent domestic abuse, to prevent sexual assault or abuse, and to prevent stalking. Temporary protection order hearings occur “ex parte,” meaning that they occur without notice being provided to the potentially restrained party.  The temporary protection order hearing may be as informal as the person seeking the protection order being sworn in and simply telling their story or as formal as an attorney questioning their client and presenting evidence before the Court.

Once a Temporary Protection Order has been granted, a hearing is set within 14 days for purposes of determining whether the protection order should be made permanent.  It is important to note that the restrained party must then be served with the temporary protection order in order for it to go into effect.  The temporary protection order will also serve as notice to the restrained person of the Permanent Protection Order hearing.  A Temporary Protection Order can be continued by agreement of the parties.  Colorado Law also provides that both parties can request a continuance of the hearing (meaning that technically it may be up to 42 days before a permanent protection hearing occurs).  Most of the time, these continuances are used for one party to retain counsel, gather more evidence, or prepare for the hearing.

Permanent Protection Order hearings are generally a more formal affair, since both parties will be notified of the hearing and will have the opportunity to present evidence.  To issue a Permanent Protection Order, the Court must find that it is more likely than not the violating party has committed acts that constitute grounds for the issuance of the civil protection order (which is typically the issuance of the Temporary Protection Order itself) and that the acts are likely to continue if the person is not restrained.

If a Permanent Protection Order is issued, the restrained party must wait 2 years before asking the Court to modify or dismiss it. If they do move to modify or terminate the protection order, they must then wait 2 years before filing any further requests to modify or terminate the protection order.

If the restrained party asks the Court to modify or dismiss the Permanent Protection Order, it is important to alert the Court if the restrained party has been convicted of a subsequent crime against you. This cannot be the same crime that formed the basis for the protection order, though. If the restrained party has been convicted of a subsequent crime against the restrained party, the Permanent Protection Order cannot be modified or dismissed.

At a Permanent Protection Order hearing, the Court will consider a list of 10 factors to determine whether modification or dismissal is appropriate. These factors include, but are not limited to, whether the restrained party has complied with the terms of the protection order, the time that has lapsed since the protection order was issued, and whether the continued safety of the protected party depends upon the protection order remaining in place because the order has been successful in preventing further harm to the protected party.

If you are the restrained person looking to modify or terminate the protection order, it is imperative that you make sure that you have strong evidence to support your request for modification or termination.  Otherwise, if your request is denied, you will be prevented from making this request again for another 2 years.

While it may seem straight forward to ask the court to protect you, when you feel that you are in harm’s way, there are complexities to the process of obtaining a permanent protection order that many people overlook. The experienced child custody and divorce attorneys at GEM are here to help you navigate this process.

Written by: Associate Attorney Adeline Sulentich