Information About Protective Orders

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If you are in danger, call: 911

Or call the Domestic Violence Hotline. They can help you find emergency housing, medical care, and support and advocacy for you and your children.
Call toll-free: 800-897-5465


Introduction

If someone has harmed you, they have committed a crime. For your personal safety and to file a criminal complaint, contact your local police. You can also help protect yourself by filing a Request for a Protective Order with the court.


Parties

The person who requests a Protective Order, is called the Petitioner. The other person is called the Respondent.


Statutes

If there is a difference between the information on this website and the statutes and rules, the statutes and rules govern.


Interpreters

If you are deaf or do not speak English, tell the court clerk you need an interpreter. The interpreter is free.


Attorneys

The parties may hire their own attorneys or represent themselves. Help for Petitioners may be available from:

In Salt Lake County

Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake (legalaidsocietyofsaltlake.org)
801-238-7170
Scott Matheson Courthouse, Room W17,
450 South State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake (legalaidsocietyofsaltlake.org)
801-328-8849
205 North 400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

In all counties

Utah Legal Services (utahlegalservices.org)
801-328-8891 in Salt Lake County
800-662-4245 in other counties
9.00 a.m.-2.00 p.m., Monday - Friday

Or contact:

Utah Domestic Violence Council (udvc.org)
800-897-5465


What can a Protective Order do?

A Protective Order can:

  • Order the Respondent not to harm the Petitioner, the Petitioners children or anyone who lives with the Petitioner.
  • Order the Respondent to stay away from the Petitioner and the Petitioners home, job, vehicle or school, and not to contact or harass the Petitioner in any way.
  • Order the Respondent not to have any guns or other weapons.
  • Order temporary possession of the home, car and essential personal property.
  • Order temporary custody, parent-time and support for the children.
  • Order temporary spousal support if the Petitioner and Respondent are married.
  • Order the children not to be removed from Utah.

The police can arrest the Respondent for not obeying the Protective Order. Then the judge can order the Respondent to pay a fine or go to jail or both.

A Protective Order is not a substitute for divorce. Permanent child custody, parent time and support and permanent division of property require a divorce decree.


What to do if the Respondent disobeys the Protective Order

  • Call the police and make a report each time the Respondent disobeys the Protective Order.
  • Show the officer a copy of the Protective Order. Ask the officer for the police case number. Ask the officer to refer the case to the prosecutor for screening even if no one is arrested.

Who can get a Protective Order?

The Petitioner can get a Protective Order if:

  • The Respondent has harmed the Petitioner, and
  • The Petitioner and Respondent are related, live with or used to live with each other, are parents of a child together, or if the Petitioner is pregnant by the Respondent, and
  • The Petitioner and Respondent are at least 16, married or emancipated.

- OR -

  • The Petitioner is afraid the Respondent will harm her or him, and
  • The Petitioner and Respondent are related, live with or used to live with each other, are parents of a child together, or if the Petitioner is pregnant by the Respondent, and
  • The Petitioner and Respondent are at least 16, married or emancipated.

If the Petitioner and Respondent are under 16 and not married or emancipated, an adult can ask for a Child Protective Order. If the Petitioner doesnt qualify for a Protective Order, s/he may still be able to get a stalking injunction.


"Harm" means:

  • Hitting, kicking, pushing, pulling hair, using a weapon, or other types of physical attacks.
  • Stalking, harassing, kidnapping, sexual assault.
  • Restricting movement, or stopping someone from calling for help.
  • Breaking things or throwing things to intimidate.
  • Trying or threatening to do any of these things.

How to request a Protective Order

There is no fee for requesting a Protective Order. You have to fill out forms, file them with the court, and attend court hearings. The County Sheriff will serve the Respondent.

  • The Online Court Assistance Program will help you prepare the necessary forms.
  • Fill-in-the-blank forms are on this website online, or get them at any courthouse or domestic violence shelter. Or dial 211 for the domestic violence advocate office.

Take the completed forms and identification to the district court in the county where you or the Respondent live or where the abuse took place.

Locate the clerks office. Tell the clerk that you want to file a Request for a Protective Order. Show the clerk your drivers license or other identification. The clerk will:

  • Check your paperwork and your identification.
  • Watch you sign the Request.
  • Sign the Request after you and assign a case number and a judge. You will need your case number and the judges name for other forms you will have to fill out.
  • Take you and your papers to a judge for the ex parte hearing.

Temporary Protective Order

If the Request for a Protective Order convinces the judge that an immediate Protective Order is needed, the judge will sign a Temporary Protective Order. The Temporary Protective Order starts as soon as the Sheriff serves a copy on the Respondent and lasts until the court hearing for the Final Protective Order. The judge can extend the Temporary Protective Order if the Respondent has not been served before the hearing or if there is some other delay.

The court clerk will:

  • give a copy of the Temporary Protective Order to the Petitioner;
  • send a copy of the Temporary Protective Order to the County Sheriff or Constable to serve on the Respondent; and
  • enter information about the Temporary Protective Order in the Statewide Domestic Violence Network so it can be accessed by all law enforcement agencies in Utah.

If the judge does not enter a Temporary Protective Order, it usually means there was not enough evidence that the Petitioner was harmed. Even if the judge does not enter a Temporary Protective Order, the Petitioner still has a right to a hearing for a Final Protective Order and should try to present more evidence at that hearing.

If the judge does not issue a Temporary Protective Order, the Petitioner will have to decide whether to request a hearing for a Final Protective Order or to dismiss the petition. Having a hearing for a Final Protective Order is the Petitioner's right. To request a hearing, the Petitioner must file a Request for Hearing form with the court. The court will notify the Petitioner of the hearing and have the Respondent served with the Petition and notice of the hearing. There will be no Temporary Protective Order in place during this time. If you are concerned for your safety, you should take steps to protect yourself.


Hearing for the Final Protective Order

The hearing for the Final Protective Order is about 20 days after the Request is filed. The date and time for the hearing will be on the Temporary Protective Order.

If the Respondent has not been served with a copy of the Temporary Protective Order before the hearing, the Petitioner should still attend the hearing and request an extension, or the case will be dismissed.


Final Protective Order

If the judge enters a Final Protective Order, the clerk will give the Petitioner a copy. If the Respondent is at the hearing, the clerk will give the Respondent a copy. If the Respondent is not at the hearing, the Sheriff will serve a copy.

The court clerk will update the information about the Final Protective Order on the Statewide Domestic Violence Network, so it can be accessed by all law enforcement agencies.

There are two parts to the Final Protective Order: civil and criminal. The civil part lasts for 150 days from the date the judge signs the order. The criminal part lasts indefinitely, unless the Respondent requests that it be dimissed after 2 years. The Petitioner and Respondent can ask the judge to lengthen or shorten these times, but must show a good reason for doing so.


How to change or dismiss a Protective Order

A Temporary or Final Protective Order cannot be changed or dismissed without the judges approval. If the Respondent does something that the order prohibits, he or she might be arrested, even if the Petitioner permitted it.

If you want to change the Protective Order you must file a Request to Modify the Protective Order.

If you want to dismiss the Protective Order, you must file a Request to Dismiss the Protective Order.

The court will not dismiss the Final Protective Order in the first two years without the Petitioners written and sworn approval. The parties will be notified of any request to dismiss or modify, but must notify the court if they move.


Related Information


Page Last Modified: 11/19/2014
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