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Does a protective order affect a father’s child custody rights?

by | May 27, 2021 | Fathers' Rights

Your relationship with your spouse has not been well for some time. You are going through the divorce process, and after a heated argument, during which she claims you laid hands on her, she surprised you with a protective order. Now you cant talk to her, and worse yet, she says you cant see your kids. This has you wondering if a protective order actually affects your child custody rights?

This question is somewhat difficult to answer. Yes, it can affect your right to see your children. At the same time, no, it may not. It all depends on the details of your specific case.

What a protective order does

A protective order, also referred to by some as a restraining order or order of protection, is a document issued by a judge that states you may not contact the person on the PO. So, if your spouse seeks a protective order, it protects just her, unless she asks for it to include your children.

What if it includes your children?

If the PO includes your children, you may not contact them, unless there is a peaceful contact provision. This provision allows you to contact your spouse or your children for very limited reasons.

What if it does not include your children?

If this is the case, you may maintain visitation or custody rights. Its possible to create a temporary schedule that you can stick with until official terms are set as part of your divorce settlement.

Is it possible to fight a PO?

Yes. You do have every right to share your side of the story. In doing so, a judge may opt to dismiss the PO. Know that it is not a requirement that you represent yourself at a PO hearing. It may be to your benefit to have help.

What if the order remains in effect?

If this happens to be the case, stick to the terms of the PO. Violating a PO is a serious offense that could have significant consequences. It isn’t worth going to jail over. It isn’t worth losing your kids over. Know it wont last forever, as these orders are typically temporary.

Keep fighting for access to your children

Having a protective order put in place against you can be very defeating, especially when you feel there is no just cause for it. If your spouse seeks to include your kids in the order, know that it doesn’t mean you will lose all custody rights. You can keep fighting for access to your children, and you dont have to fight alone.