Restraining Orders

Many domestic cases involve the filing of a civil protection order also known as a restraining order.

Such an Order requires that one party stay away from the other party, usually one hundred (100) yards away from the protected person's home or work.

Usually these actions, at least here in Colorado Springs, are filed by an agency known as "TESSA." Their phone number is: 719–633–3819.

The Attorney usually gets involved at the point where the case is going to Court. The Attorney can represent either side in this kind of action. I have represented Clients on both sides.

A person will file a restraining order action when she is afraid of her husband, and believes she is at a risk of harm from him, unless he is ordered to stay away from her. Please note I did not say the husband files such an action; however, either side can file such an action, but I note that most of the time I see the wife or girlfriend filing such an action against her husband or former boyfriend, and not the other way around.

At the hearing on the permanent restraining order, the wife must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that unless her husband is restrained, she will continue to be in the future at a risk of harm from him.

If a divorce action has been filed, I sometimes will get the restraining order action dismissed, in return for both sides agreeing to a "no contact order" in the divorce case.

A "No Contact Order" refers to an Order in the divorce case that does pretty much the same thing as the restraining order, namely, prohibits one party from contacting the other party, and requiring him to stay one hundred (100) yards away from the protected person's home or work. The difference is that in the no contact order it is not a criminal offense if the no contact order is violated. It is instead a contempt issue, meaning that the person has violated a Court Order to stay away from the other person.

Because it is now a contempt issue, the protected person must file a contempt action in Court, and seek the issuance of a contempt citation, which must then be served upon the violator. The violator must then appear in Court, and answer the charge, just like in a criminal case. The violator, if found guilty of the contempt, faces a possible six (6) months in jail, if no one requests a jury trial, and/or a fine.

With a restraining order the protected person, theoretically at least, should be able to show the order to law enforcement, if it is violated, and the violator should be immediately arrested and charged with the criminal offense of violation of a restraining order. In the no contact order situation, the protected person cannot obtain such immediate action by law enforcement, but instead must go through the slow process of contempt of Court.

Changing the restraining order into a no contact order in the divorce case is a compromise solution. It hopefully meets the need and desire of the protected person for some legal protection, but also meets the need and desire of the other party for avoiding both a possible criminal case and the power of the protected person to have him or her immediately arrested if a violation occurs.