If you have a domestic dispute in Colorado, your spouse or romantic partner can file a civil protection order. Sometimes called a restraining order, a CPO may prevent you from living in the same home, contacting your partner, having custody of children or otherwise interfering with the filer’s daily life.
Responding appropriately to a CPO can help protect your legal rights in this situation.
Understanding the CPO process
Generally, when someone requests an order of protection they must submit a legal complaint that details alleged abuse or threats of abuse. The court will issue a temporary protection order pending a hearing. At the court hearing, you have the right to attorney representation. You and your lawyer can present evidence to support your side of the story. The judge may dismiss the temporary CPO, extend it for 12 months or extend it permanently.
Responding to a CPO
Follow the terms of the order of protection even if you disagree with the charges against you. Failing to do so can result in criminal consequences. Depending on the accusations, the CPO may require that you:
- Refrain from owning firearms
- Cede ownership of pets
- Refrain from disposing of the accuser’s belongings
- Stay away from certain locations
- Temporarily have supervised visitation with your children
- Temporarily give up decision-making rights as a parent
In the meantime, you should prepare a legal defense if you plan to contest the order of protection. This can include photographs, video, witness statements, correspondence and other details of the situation. For example, you may claim self-defense or fabrication on behalf of your accuser.