It is becoming increasingly common for people to seek a protection order against their spouse during divorce proceedings.  While a protection order may be filed into the divorce case, it creates a completely separate issue that encompasses very different areas of law.  It’s important to know the process for obtaining a protection order and what your rights are if someone brings a protection order against you.

Temporary Protection Order vs. Permanent Protection Order

When someone first files for a protection order, they will request a temporary protection order (TPO).  Many courts have TPO hearings every day, but it’s important to make sure there are TPO hearings on the day you file so you won’t have to make multiple trips.  When you request a TPO, you will go ex parte (a fancy legal phrase for “by yourself”) in front of a judge or magistrate.  You will have to show the Court that you are in imminent danger from the person you are trying to restrain, usually by discussing a recent event that puts you in imminent danger.  The burden to receive a TPO is low since the other party is not there, and courts would rather be on the safe side.

A TPO will last 14 days until the permanent protection order (PPO) hearing.  The restrained party has to be served notice of the permanent protection order hearing and has a right to appear at the hearing.  At the PPO hearing, the protected party will have to show that the imminent danger they were in from the TPO is likely to recur.  The restrained party will then have an opportunity to state why he or she does not need to be restrained from contacting the other person.  As the name suggests, a PPO is permanent and will last forever unless it is modified later.  Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that you seek an attorney whether you are requesting a PPO or are attempting to be restrained under a PPO.

No Contact Order vs. No Harassment Order

Protection orders also differ in the type of contact that they attempt to prevent.  The default protection order is a “no contact” order, meaning the restrained party cannot attempt to contact the other person or else they will face criminal charges punishable by up to a year in jail.  The parties can request to have the order modified to a “no harassment” order, meaning that the parties can still communicate, but the restrained party cannot harass the protected party.  Protection orders arising out of divorces involving children are usually modified to allow for limited communication between the parties to discuss matters relating to the children.  Protection orders are always modifiable through a legal motion with the court.

Protection orders are an important way to protect yourself from someone else during a divorce.  However, they involve matters of criminal law, so it is important to seek an attorney with experience outside of solely family law to give you the best chance of success.  The attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber and Associates have large amounts of experience in both fields and know how the fields intersect for protection orders.  Call us today for a free consultation to start working on protecting yourself and your children at (720)863-7755.