In the event that you have an Order for Protection against you that protects either the petitioner (i.e. spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend) or your child(ren), the law in Minnesota requires the court to consider a finding of domestic abuse considering a party’s request for physical or legal custody or parenting time to minor child(ren). See Minn. Stat. § 518.17, subd.12, subd.13; and Minn. Stat. § 518.175, subd.1a. If the Court has already issued an Order for Protection, going to family court and attempting to argue against the issuance of the order, is typically a bad idea. For instance, if it is your intent to try to tell the family court judge that the issuing court (of the Order for Protection) was wrong in their issuance of the Order for Protection it is likely not to be a persuasive argument. Instead, tackling the issues that are referenced in the Order for Protection is usually the best way to deal with this. For instance, if the Order for Protection demonstrates or alleges assaultive conduct, you may want to consider registering for an anger management or domestic abuse course. If the Order for Protection alleges concerns with parenting skills, you may want to consider taking a parenting course. If the Order for Protection alleges chemical abuse, including drug or alcohol abuse, it is usually a good idea that, prior to going to court, you consider entering therapy and/or start attending Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous courses. I often advise my clients that having a sponsor through AA or NA who is willing to establish attendance and involvement in these meetings goes a long way with most judges. In the event mental instability is alleged, having a therapist or mental health care provider who could provide information demonstrating that you have sought and are receiving treatment and/or medication, also is a very strong argument.
I have not seen that ignoring the Order for Protection or attempting to challenge the issuance of the Order for Protection in a family court proceeding relative to custody and parenting time is not a good idea. Instead, in my experience, having a specific plan to confront the allegations set forth against you in the Order for Protection and showing the court that there is no longer reason to be concerned relative to parenting time or custody is the best way to handle an Order for Protection against you.