Marriage often has at least a few tense moments; yours is likely no exception. Yet you may make the concerted effort to allow the emotions of such moments to overwhelm you and prompt you to act in ways you otherwise would not. Thus, following such an incident, you may feel blindsided when served with a protective order by your spouse. 

How should you respond in such a situation? Your first impulse may be to reach out to them to try and resolve whatever perceived misunderstanding might have led to such an action. Yet doing so could potentially lead to even more trouble (and hurt your prospects of securing a favorable outcome should your dispute devolve into a divorce). 

The consequences of violating a protective order 

You may feel as though your actions towards your spouse did not constitute violence, and thus should not leave you facing the prospect of being legally restrained from contacting them. Plus, your spouse can get have a temporary protective order taken out against you without you having the chance to present your version of the events that led to it. For these reasons, you may think that contacting them to talk through the matter is the logical solution. However, per Section 273.6 of California’s Penal Code, the penalties for violating a protective order can be fines of up to $1,000 and/or one year of imprisonment. 

On top of any criminal penalties you may face, your spouse may cite you violating a protective order against you in subsequent child custody and/or spousal support hearings. 

Letting the process play out 

Instead, your best course of action is to abide by the protective order and then present yourself at the hearing. There you will have the chance to present your case to the court (which can terminate the order based on the evidence you present).