If you and your spouse have separated because of domestic violence, or if you or your children feel threatened by your spouse, a restraining order provides legal protection during the divorce process. Colorado provides these civil protection orders at the county level for anyone who has experienced threats or domestic violence committed by a person age 10 or older.

These are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about obtaining a restraining order against your spouse in Colorado.

What does a restraining order do?

Depending on the terms of your restraining order, the court will prevent the other party from contacting you, remove him or her from your residence and temporarily limit contact with and custody of minor children. The judge can keep the person from coming within a certain distance of your home, your place of employment and/or your child’s school.

How do I get a restraining order?

During regular business hours, you can file a protection order at your local county court. After business hours, contact local law enforcement to obtain an emergency order of protection.

In the filing paperwork, you must provide detailed information about instances of abuse and threats. The judge will schedule a hearing, often the same day, to determine whether you are eligible for a temporary order of protection. This initial order lasts until your court date for a permanent restraining order, which usually occurs within 14 days.

Who notifies my spouse about the restraining order?

You must officially serve your spouse with the temporary restraining order, and he or she must attend the court date for the permanent order. You cannot serve the papers yourself and must hire a professional process server or local law enforcement offers to do so. You must file an Affidavit of Service with the court to prove that your spouse received notice of the order.

Talk to your local court or law enforcement agency right away if you think you or your children are in danger. You can file your paperwork and learn more about next steps.