No one can predict exactly how a spouse will react to being served with divorce papers. Unfortunately, divorce can sometimes bring out the worst in some people. Divorce proceedings or child custody disputes can lead some people to make threats of violence against a spouse or threats to abduct the children. When this happens, it is critical for victims to understand their rights.
A Colorado court can issue a civil protection order - also known as a restraining order - to protect a person from threats or actions of another person. The order will typically prohibit the restrained person from approaching or contacting the victim. It can also remove the person from the victim's home and order them to stay away from the children, their school or their daycare. It can provide the victim temporary care and control of the couple's children.
A judge can issue a temporary protection order on the same day as the victim files for it. The court will then set a second court date, usually about two weeks later, to determine whether the temporary order should be made permanent. At this second court date, the victim will have to show an imminent danger of further threats or abuse. Once a protection order is in place, the victim should carry it with them at all times. If the restrained person violates any provision of the order, that person can face criminal charges.
Anyone who feels they are in potential danger from a spouse or ex-spouse may want to consider seeking a protective order. Getting the right information about legal options can help the victim negotiate the process.
Source: Colorado Judicial Department, "Frequently Asked Questions about Civil Protection (Restraining) Orders," accessed Nov. 16, 2015