California Criminal Protective Order and Child Custody

The Orange County Superior Court regularly hands out California Criminal Protective Orders in Domestic Violence and Violation of Restraining cases. Unfortunately, there are times when they hand out multiple orders and conflict with each other. These conflicts happen when there is a pending criminal charge with an ongoing family law (divorce case)

What is a California Criminal Protective Order?

A California Criminal Protective Order is an order a judge makes to protect a witness or victim of a crime. It tells the restrained person to stay away from and not to hurt, threaten, or communicate with the other person. It is often issued after an Emergency Protective Order. Often times when these are initially handed out by law enforcement officers where they order absolutely no contact, with the protected party and  their minor children. 

Shows a protective order in a dometstic violence case. This is issued by the Orange County Court.

The tricky part comes in because the restrained party can’t initiate contact to modify the California Criminal Protective Orders. When the restrained party goes to court for the custody case, the family law judge will be hesitant to do anything because of the criminal protective order.

If you are the restrained party in one of the many California Criminal Protective Orders , you will need an attorney to reach out to the protected party to coordinate with the the protective order. Having direct contact contact is a violation and can result in a new case, however on the other hand, just obeying the order will give the spouse the upper hand in the family law case which can be financially devastating.

When you have a California Criminal Protective Order and a Divorce Case Going on at the Same time

The retrained person will find himself herself in a tricky situation where they can not defend themselves in family court because of the request of law enforcement for them to stay away unless they want new charges filed against them by the Orange County District Attorney for a violation of restraining order. 

Fortunately, this is not final as there are ways for a restrained out of this which will be discusssed in this article. The first way is via seking a peaceful contact CPO, the second is to requets an exception which allows for contact for the purpose of facilitating the family court case.  

By going on these two paths, it will prevent a restrained person of picking up new charges as they are able to fight their case in court and avoid the conflicts that happen when there is a pending custody case and a violation of a restraining order case occurs.

California Criminal Protective Order vs Domestic Violence Restraining Order

California Criminal Protective orders are different from Civil Restraining Orders and Domestic Violence Restraining orders because they result from a criminal case.  Although they both involve domestic violence, the Criminal is married with the criminal court system where as the Domestic Violence is  based on less standards

However, violating them will mean criminal penalties. For the purpose of this article, only criminal protective as it relates to family law case will be discussed. 

 The Solution so You can Continue on with your Family Law Case (Divorce) in Light of the Criminal Protective Order

You will need the protective order to be changed to make an exception to the no contact for court-ordered visitation. This can happen in many ways.You can make everyone subject to no contact, or if there is too much resistance, you can only make the children an exception to the no contact rule. By doing this, you will still have visitation rights.

Initiating Contact with the Protected Party is a Violation even if You Have Family Case Going on

The one thing you must not do is initiate contact with the protected party. If you initiate contact yourself then you will violation the protective order. You can avoid violating the protective order by having an attorney contact the other party. An attorney is the only method allowed by the courts to reach the protected party when there is a no contact order.

Other Types of Restraining Orders

There are also Civil Restraining orders and Elder Restraining orders (prevents elder abuse) which will not be discussed. The one thing that all these have in common is that they are designed to prevents acts of violence and use the law enforcement officers and the courts as a mechanism to acheieve it’s goals. 

There are two kinds to keep in mind. 

Criminal Protective Order-Domestic Violence (CR-160)

Criminal Protective Order-Other Than Domestic Violence (CR-161)


You Need to be Able to Fight Your Family Law Divorce Case with the Ongoing Criminal Case

 Having a California Criminal Protective Orders against you in Orange County does not mean no contact and that you should lose your family law or divorce case. There are ways around this so you can continue on with your case. You should do an initial consultation with an attorney to see how you can get the criminal court judges on your domestic violence case to work alongside with the family law judge in your case so you can avoid any new  criminal offense and get contact for visitation with kids. 

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