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Family Law Answers
Family Law Answers, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  more than 16 years experience as an attorney - current family law litigation + mediation practice
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Protection Order Violation Question I am the protected person

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Protection Order Violation Question I am the protected person in a DVPO with my ex. Ex and I in a dispute over schedule. I advised Ex I would be following our parenting plan as written unless he hired an attorney to contact me about issue which he did not do. Our kids are with him, and according to schedule are suppose to return home tomorrow at 6 pm. However, tonight I received a facebook message from our 12 year old daughter advising they were going to Montana and would be returning home on the 11th. I have not received any of this information from my ex. Order against him prohibits using a third party for contacting me, and also states he is not to contact me directly or indirectly. Question is if our daughter contacted me about the plans he had not to bring them home until the 11th, a Wed. when our plan in the summer only deals with exchanges on Sunday, even if he didn't put her up to telling me this himself, which I believe he did, is this indirect contact and thus a violation of the DVPO anyway. He will deny having daughter tell me this. Don't want to bring daughter into it as point of this is to try and get her out of the middle he keeps wanting to put her in. However, I feel even if he didn't intend for her to tell me, information about his plans got to me, these plans are in heavy dispute between us, never has anything been mentioned to me about them coming home on the 11th until daughter told me, and it shouldn't have happened as information from him got to me improperly.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Family Law Answers replied 7 years ago.
Hi and thanks for contacting JustAnswer.

First, yes if your ex put your daughter up to contacting you, that would be a violation of the protective order on his part. The issue is that you will be less likely to prove it without your daughter becoming involved, and you are doing the right thing by not wanting her to become involved. The court would also not look favorably upon dragging your daughter into this (even though you ex is who did it in the first place).

Second, since you have a parenting plan in place which is very specific about when your ex is supposed to be returning your children, if he doesn't comply with the parenting plan and return the children when he is supposed to, then you can file a motion for contempt against him when the court opens tomorrow and you can lay out the facts and how he hasn't complied with the court order, that there is an existing protective order against him, and ask that the court issue immediate emergency relief and order that he immediately return the children to you.

You could also call the police tonight when the children are not returned to you and at least file a complaint against him that he is in violation of the court order. The police may go confront him to get him to return the children - - you should have a copy of the court order parenting plan with you to show the police so that you can show that he is in violation. The police may choose not to get involved, they usually prefer and suggest to people that since it's a family matter they have to work it out in the courtroom; however, since you do have an existing protective order against him they may be more sympathetic toward your situation and decide to go get the children for you.

I hope that this answers your question; if so, please click Accept. Thanks very much and I wish you the best here.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Ok, one more thing to think about before stating your final answer...if I could prove my ex would have knowledge my daughter would have told me this whether he asked her to or not by way of multiple incidents where daughter has told me about his actions, comments so he should have known when he gave her this information she would get it to me, would that prove a violation of the order without having to involve my daughter in this more than he already has?


I found caselaw in Washington that dealt with a guy restrained contacting a person who lived with the protected person and making comments. He never told person he called to tell protected person, but given the person he called always did tell the protected person when he did that, the fact he continued to do so despite being aware she would tell the protected person showed he had knowledge protected person would be contacted about it and thus supported the violation. Would the same apply here?

Expert:  Family Law Answers replied 7 years ago.
From the facts of that case as you state them above, you could make that analogous argument for your situation; however, you will still need to show that he had knowledge that your daughter would have told you and/or that he did/said something to her/in her presence for her to relay it to you. I am envisioning your ex not admitting that he said or did anything to your daughter and testifying that he didn't know how she came to know thus had no knowledge she knew, much less was going to tell you. If he testifies to this, then the court may want testimony from your daughter about what dad did and didn't do/say to her or in her presence. I believe that you are always going to run the risk of having to involve your daughter; however, you can make it very clear to the court that you do not want your daughter involved in this situation. You could ask that a guardian ad litem be appointed who can then become involved and meet with your daughter and investigate whether your ex is improperly involving your daughter in these situations and the GAL can make recommendations to the court about this instead of your daughter having to come to the court and be directly confronted. You could file a motion to appoint a guardian ad litem with the court, arguing that your ex is improperly involving your daughter in these proceedings and that a GAL appointment is necessary to protect the best interest of your child.

I'm happy to answer any follow up questions, but would appreciate it if you could click Accept for my answers thus far. Thanks!
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