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Divorce and Crime – A Package Deal



Oftentimes, family clients will come in with not just a divorce proceeding, but with a restraining order and domestic violence charge. It seems one case goes hand in hand with the other. Other times, the divorcing parties are getting along so well that there is no need for the “packaged deal.” But when one partner gets out of hand, all of the issues boil over and the results are three cases rather than one. In order to better illustrate these issues, we will use the example of Brian and Jane.

This boil over usually starts when one partner becomes physically violent, or just refuses to accept the relationship is over. That partner, Brian as we will call him, is then arrested for domestic violence against the other, Jane as we will call her. When Brian, now called a defendant, appears for his arraignment, usually one business day after the occurrence, the Magistrate will issue a “No Contact Order.” This criminal “No Contact Order” prohibits contact between Brian and Jane for a period of 72 hours. The Court will also issue a criminal restraining order, which prohibits Brian from harassing, molesting or intimidating Jane throughout the course of the criminal proceeding. This continues even after a plea has been entered and throughout the period of deferred sentence or probation.

However, Jane may still feel uneasy about having only a criminal restraining order. That is when Jane obtains a civil protective order. This is the type of restraining order most people are familiar. Jane requests a restraining order through the court, and is generally granted a Temporary Protection Order. The Court then sets the matter for a hearing to determine whether the Order will become Permanent.

At this hearing, the parties may opt for several solutions. The first is to move forward with the hearing to see if the judge determines whether the Order should become a Permanent Protective Order. Another option is for the parties to agree to a contract. This contract is called a “No Contact Agreement.” This “contract” effectively dissolves the protection order but the parties are able to agree not to contact each other. Should one party, Brian let’s say, violates the agreement, the other, non-violating party, Jane let’s say, can reinstitute the protection order and bring civil charges against Brian. The final option is to wrap the protection order into any pending divorce proceeding and deal with the protection order at a later point.

As a result of the criminal charge for domestic violence and with the filed restraining order, Jane now desires to end the marriage and files for a divorce. Once the Petition for Dissolution is filed and Brian is served, the divorce moves forward as would any other divorce action, but the restraining order can be incorporated into the divorce and dealt with all at the same time. The only problem that may arise for Brian concerns what weight, if any, the divorce court would give for the domestic violence case and restraining order.

Insomuch as these issues can get very complicated, it is paramount that a client have representing them an attorney that is well versed in both the Divorce and Criminal sides of the issue. The Gasper Law Group is a family law firm in Colorado Springs that provides clients with this kind of quality representation. If you are faced with a situation such as Brian and Jane you should call The Gasper Law Group to assist you through the maze of Colorado’s Divorce and Criminal Justice System.

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