Once the court has issued a Protection from Abuse Order, the next question will likely deal with the duration of the limitations. That question can depend on a number of things. These include the exact type of order, the prohibited conduct, and any further court actions. Below is an outline of what to expect concerning how long an order will remain in effect.

Emergency And Temporary OrdersPrior to the hearing for the order, a court may issue an emergency order, temporary order, or both. An emergency order lasts only until the next business day at 5:00 PM. The purpose of the emergency order is to allow the victim of abuse to seek a temporary order. A temporary order stays in effect until the time the hearing begins. Hearings must be held within 21 days of filing, meaning the temporary orders are generally only three weeks. If the hearing is postponed, the temporary order may be extended as well.

Full Protection From Abuse OrdersOnce the court conducts the hearing to determine whether the order should be issued, it will set a time frame for the order to remain in effect. The order cannot last more than one year, however. As the expiration date approaches, the protected party can motion the court for an additional year of enforcement. As noted in Jordan v. Jordan, this decision is entirely up to the trial court and will rarely be overturned on appeal. Also, no specific criteria is set that the court must consider when deciding whether an extension is appropriate.

Under other circumstances, the court must extend the order. The protect person must file a verified petition alleging at least one of three things. First, that the defendant violated the order at some point during its original duration. Second, the defendant has violated any valid protection order at any time. Finally, the defendant was convicted of a “person felony” (or what would be a person felony if it occurred in Kansas) and the victim was the protected party or any member of the protected party’s household. The court will hold a hearing with both the protected party and the defendant presenting evidence. If it is found that any of these are true, the court must extend the order’s duration for at least two years. There is no leeway or choice in the matter. In extreme cases, the order can even be extended for the lifetime of the defendant based upon any of these factors.

ModificationSometimes circumstances change. In these cases, the protected party, defendant, or both may wish to alter the duration or terms of the order. The court will only consider altering the order under Section 60-3107(f) when both parties participate in the modification hearing. Further, the Protection from Abuse Order can only be modified in such a hearing; even if a divorce proceeding attempts to grant custody of a protect child to the defendant, the Protection from Abuse Order will prevail. Any divorce proceedings can be combined with the modification (or original hearing) of the order to simplify things, however. The case law on what circumstances have been found appropriate is lacking, but some likely instances include reconciliation between the protected party and defendant, divorce proceedings that are combined with the modification, or a satisfactory completion of anger management or substance abuse treatment by the defendant.

Protection from Abuse Orders are generally temporary measures, rather than long-term family modifications such as custody orders. Even considering this, they can last up to a year and be extended well beyond that in appropriate circumstances. It is important to contact capable of counsel if the order’s expiration date is approaching and you feel additional time is necessary. Alternatively, when a defendant feels he or she has proven that order is unnecessary, the order can be modified to reflect these changed circumstances. Either way, an experienced attorney is essential to understanding what actions are needed to accomplish your needs concerning Protection from Abuse Orders.