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What Proof is Needed to File a Restraining Order?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP August 2, 2021

In Colorado, anyone who fears for their safety is permitted to seek a restraining order. The purpose of this order is to protect an individual from domestic violence, harassment, child abuse, or other threats and to ensure that the abuser ceases contact with the victim. Restraining orders are unique depending on the circumstances, but several things must be shown in any situation in order for a court to grant a restraining order. 

Temporary vs. Permanent 

When you seek a restraining order, there are two different types – temporary and permanent. A temporary restraining order comes first and often acts as a steppingstone for a person to get a permanent restraining order if it’s necessary. 



The temporary order lasts for 14 days. In order to apply for a temporary restraining order, you must fill out a form in court. Typically, the judge will hold a hearing on the same day that the form is filled out. The victim who fills out the form is permitted to have an attorney present with them, and the alleged abuser is not required to be there. In order to have a temporary restraining order granted, you must show that you are in imminent danger. If the judge agrees that the victim is in imminent danger, they will grant the temporary restraining order. Once this occurs, the alleged abuser must be served with the restraining order. The order will not be active until they are actually served and made aware that it exists.



Permanent restraining orders are those that can last indefinitely – forever in some circumstances. A judge is permitted to recall or modify the restraining order in the future, but they aren’t required to. Before issuing a permanent restraining order, a judge will hold a hearing, which is essentially a mini-trial. At this hearing, both parties – the victim and the abuser – will be permitted to argue (themselves or through an attorney) their side of the case. The victim must be at this hearing, but the alleged abuser is not required to be there. When seeking the permanent restraining order, the judge also has the option to extend the temporary order for up to 120 days. 


What is Imminent Danger?

According to C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(7), the court considers several factors when determining if the individual seeking a restraining order is in imminent danger. The court will consider all relevant evidence regarding the victim’s safety and protection. There’s no clear-cut evidence that has to be provided in order to have a restraining order granted. Any evidence you can come up with to show that you are in danger will be helpful for the judge to determine the best course of action. This could include threatening text messages or photos of injuries. It’s also essential to provide the judge with specific information about the abuse – when and where it occurred, how often it occurred, why you think it’s likely to continue happening, and anything else you think might help the judge understand the danger you’re in. 


An Experienced Lawyer Can Help

If you find yourself in a position where you need to seek a restraining order in Colorado, it’s a good idea to reach out to an attorney for help. While you can take these steps alone, it’s always helpful to have someone experienced by your side.