Whenever a person finds themselves in domestic violence court there are several potential outcomes. One outcome could be a dismissal of the action. Another outcome could be a finding of domestic violence and the entry of an order of protection. A third option that occurs very frequently but is little understood is the entry of a stipulated order of protection. This occurs when both parties, petitioner and respondent, both are willing to enter into an order of protection. The benefit of doing this is that it prevents both parties from having to undergo a costly and emotionally charged hearing. However, be aware that a stipulated order of protection is not the same as an order of protection entered into after a hearing and there is a finding of domestic violence. This could be significant. A stipulated order is NOT a finding of domestic violence. In New Mexico, a finding of domestic violence must be considered in a custody case. If the order is stipulated then this does not serve as a finding of domestic violence and therefore will not impact on custody issues in the same way. Therefore, before you enter into a stipulated order talk to an expert at the Justice Legal Group to ascertain what, if any impact, your order can have on your case and your future.