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Know the Laws: Colorado

UPDATED September 18, 2017

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

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A Colorado protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by (1) any person who is or has been related to you by blood or marriage, (2) any person who has lived with you or lives with you now, or (3) any person with whom you have had an intimate relationship.

Who can get a domestic violence protection order

back to topAm I eligible to file for a domestic violence protection order?

You can ask a civil court for a protection order if the abuser has committed domestic violence against you or your children as long as  s/he is one of the following:

  • A relative or former relative (either by blood or marriage);
  • A spouse or ex-spouse;
  • The father or mother of your child;
  • A current or former intimate partner (not married to you); or
  • A current or former housemate.*
Also, if the judge finds that there is an immediate danger to the employees of a business, the judge can issue a protection order in the name of the business for the protection of the employees.** 

A parent may file on behalf of a minor child (under 18).***  You cannot get a protection order against someone who is under 10 years old.****  You may want to contact a domestic violence organization or a court clerk for more information on minors requesting protective orders.  See CO State and Local Programs and CO Courthouse Locations for contact information.

Note: Colorado also has protection orders based on stalking, assault and threatened bodily harm, sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact, and emotional abuse of an elderly or at-risk person – the abuser does NOT have to be related to you or in an intimate relationship with you to qualify for one of these orders.  For more information on each of the these orders, see Protection Orders for Stalking, Sexual Assault, Physical Harm/Threats, and Elder Abuse.

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-101(2)
** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(7)(b)
*** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-101(2.2), Colorado Rules of County Civil Procedure Rule 317(C)
**** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(1)(a)

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back to topCan I file for a protection order against a same-sex partner?

In Colorado, you may apply for a domestic violence protection order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible to file for a domestic violence protection order?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Colorado?

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back to topCan a minor file for a domestic violence protection order?

It is not clear according to Colorado law if a minor victim of abuse can file for his/her own order without a parent.  For minors under 18, a parent or guardian can file for the protection order.*  If a parent or guardian is not available, it may be possible to have someone else apply on the minor’s behalf but you may want to check your court’s clerk’s office to make sure they would accept a petition brought by an adult who is not the parent or guardian.  You may want to contact a domestic violence organization or a court clerk for more information on minors requesting protective orders.  See CO State and Local Programs and CO Courthouse Locations for contact information.

Note: You cannot get a protective order against someone who is under 10 years old.**

* Colo. Rev. Stat.§ 13-14-101(2.2); see Colorado Rules of County Court Civil Procedure Rule 317(C)
** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(1)(a)

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back to topHow much does it cost?

There are no fees for filing for a protection order in Colorado when the reason for the protection order is domestic abuse, domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.  It is free to file the order in court and to serve the order through the sheriff's office.*

* Colo. Rev. Stat. 13-14-109(1),(2)

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back to topDo I need a lawyer?

No, you do not need a lawyer to file for a protection order, but it may be better to have one.  If the abuser has a lawyer, you should try to get one too.  Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

In addition, the domestic violence organizations in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms.  You will find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations on the CO Where to Find Help page.  You will find contact information for courthouses on the CO Courthouse Locations page.

For more information, you can also write to our Email Hotline.  We cannot represent you in court or give you legal advice, but we may be able to answer some of your questions.

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back to topI am an employer of an abuse victim. How can I protect my business from the abuser?

Colorado law authorizes an employer to apply for a protection order in the name of the business if the employer believes that the employees or customers are in immediate danger from the abuser* (for example, the employee is being stalked and the stalker comes to the workplace, scaring the employee and others).   If the judge or magistrate finds that the employees or customers of a business are in immediate danger, s/he can grant the order to keep the abuser away from the business.* 

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(7)(b)

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WomensLaw.org thanks Andrea, CourtWatch Coordinator at Project Safeguard, for her helpful revisions on these pages.

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