Restraining Order Information
The increased awareness in domestic violence cases over the past few years has resulted in law enforcement experiencing a substantial increase in the issuance of both temporary as well as permanent protection orders. Although the causes are many and varied, one of the primary reasons for this is public awareness.
Most restraining orders are related to domestic relationships; however, any volatile, hostile, potentially dangerous interaction between persons may best be addressed by obtaining a restraining order.
Those relationships may be between in-laws, employees, schoolmates, business partners, neighbors, and many other types of relationships.
If you believe your situation would best be served by applying for a temporary restraining order you should follow these directions:
In El Paso County, Temporary Restraining Orders (based on domestic violence) may begin at the TESSA office at 435 Gold Pass Heights, CSC 80906, Phone: (719) 633-1462 or the County court house at 270 S. Tejon, Room S101.
You must have completed the application prior to 9:00 a.m. and be prepared to spend 3-5 hours to complete the process.Once the proper paperwork has been completed, the “plaintiff” appears before a County court magistrate. If the magistrate approves the application the signed order must be served directly to the “defendant.” The Sheriff's Office does not charge a fee for service if the restraining order is domestic violence related. Temporary Restraining Orders that have been issued by the court but have not been legally served are not enforceable.
Once served, the defendant will be required to appear in court before the magistrate approximately two weeks later. The sole purpose of this appearance is to explain their side of the complaint to the magistrate. Once both sides are heard, the magistrate will decide on a permanent order.
In regards to restraining order violations, certain facts must be present. The defendant must have had contact with the plaintiff, either directly or indirectly. This applies to the defendant only. A plaintiff cannot be charged with a restraining order violation, even if the plaintiff initiated contact. The defendant is also required to maintain a specific distance from the plaintiff. Again, violation can result in arrest and incarceration.
As discussed above, a Temporary Restraining order can, and some of the time does, become permanent. A Permanent Restraining Order is just that…permanent. This could be the result of the magistrate believing that a permanent order is needed, or that the defendant elected not to appear. In that case, the defendant “loses by default.” If you are not there to defend yourself, the magistrate has no choice but to find for the plaintiff. A Permanent Restraining Order is in effect upon issuance by the court, even though there is no proof of service. The same rules of arrest apply as above.
One of the most volatile situations involve child custody disputes. When a disagreement occurs over which parent or guardian should have custody of a child and you are asked to intervene, always ask for the most current court decree or ruling on who should have control of the child. If a parent has simply violated some term of the divorce decree (i.e. not returning the child promptly at 1800 hrs on a school night, etc.), then the reporting party should be directed back to the courts for consideration of a contempt decree.
If a parent makes claims with supporting evidence that a child is at-risk while with the other parent then consideration of an Emergency Protection Order and transfer of the child may be in order. (CRS 14-4-103)
If no court order exists and no threat exists to the child, then both parties have an equal right to have the child and no action will be taken.
Under the Federal Uniform Child Custody Act, divorce decrees from other jurisdictions will be honored; however, the parties should have our courts issue a “Writ of Assistance” in order to enforce the order.