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Legal Information: Colorado

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of October 13, 2023

What types of domestic violence protection orders are there? How long do they last?

There are a three types of civil domestic violence protection orders, which are described below. The first two can be issued regardless of whether or not you have called the police about the abuse.1

1. Temporary (ex parte) Protection Orders: A temporary (ex parte) protection order can be issued if the judge believes that you are in immediate danger.2 (Note: “Ex parte” means that you can get the order without the abuser being notified beforehand or present in court.) The judge is not supposed to deny you the order based solely on the fact that the act of abuse or threat of harm happened a while before you filed for the order.2 A temporary (ex parte) protection order is designed to protect you during the time that it takes for your full court hearing for a permanent order to take place, which is usually within the next 14 days.3 The order is not enforceable until the abuser is personally served.4

2. Permanent Protection Orders: When both you and the abuser return to court for the hearing after you get a temporary protection order, the judge can either:

  • continue the temporary protection order for up to 1 year (if both parties are present at the hearing and both agree to the continuance); or
  • if the judge determines that the abuser has committed domestic violence, and that without the order, s/he will continue to commit such acts or will intimidate or retaliate against you, the judge can grant you a permanent protection order (with provisions different from the temporary protection order, if necessary).5

Note: Permanent protection orders can sometimes cover temporary care and custody of minor children. However, even if your permanent protection order lasts for many years, the part of the permanent protection order that deals with custody can only last for one year.6 To get a long-term custody order, you would likely have to file a separate custody petition – we suggest talking to a lawyer about how to do this. You can find free and paid lawyers on our CO Finding a Lawyer page.

3. Emergency Protection Orders: An emergency protection order can be requested by local law enforcement based on the belief that an adult is in immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, assault, stalking, sexual assault/abuse or that a minor child is in immediate danger of an unlawful sexual offense or domestic abuse (based upon an allegation of a recent actual or threatened unlawful sexual offense or domestic abuse). Note: In the case of a minor child, the order could also be requested by the county department of social services, or another “responsible person.”7 This type of order last only for a few days and is generally issued when the courts are closed or if you file for a temporary ex parte protection order but the judge cannot hold a hearing on the same day you file.8

1 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(1)(b)
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(7)(a)
3 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(10)
4 See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(9)
5 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-106(1)(a),(b)
6 Colo. Rev. Stat. §13-14-105(1)(e)(I)
7 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-103(1)(c),(e)
8 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-103(1)(f)