Finding Legal Help
You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help.
Como encontrar ayuda legal
Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.
If you are in danger, call: 911
You can also contact the Domestic Violence Hotline. They can help people find resources for emergency housing, medical care, and support and advocacy for you and your children. Call toll-free: 800-897-5465, or visit the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.
You might be able to get help applying for a protective order
This page is about cohabitant, dating violence and sexual violence protective orders. It explains what a protective order is, the different types of protective orders available, how to ask for one, how to respond to a request for one, and how to ask for a change to an existing protective order. Some people call this kind of order a "restraining order," but the legal term is "protective order."
About protective orders
A protective order is an order from the court. The person requesting the order (and the person who would be protected by the order) is called the petitioner. The person the order is requested against (and against whom it would be issued) is called the respondent.
The order can place restrictions on the respondent if the court finds the respondent committed violence (or threatened violence or attempted violence) against the petitioner.
A protective order can order the respondent to:
- Not commit violence against people listed on the order.
- Not contact or communicate in any way with people listed on the order.
- Stay away from the petitioner's home, work, school, or place of worship.
- Comply with restrictions at the respondent's work, school, and place of worship.
- Not possess, have, or buy a firearm or other type of weapon.
If the respondent violates a protective order they can be arrested and charged with a crime.
Types of protective orders
There are different types of protective orders depending on the relationship between the petitioner and the respondent.
If a minor child (under 18 years old) is in danger of physical or sexual abuse, see the Child Protective Orders web page .
How a protective order is issued
Step 1 – Petitioner fills out the required forms and files them with the court
The petitioner fills out the required forms:
- Request for Protective Order
- Temporary Protective Order
- Protective Order
- Service Assistance Form
Forms are in the Forms section.
Some form names will be slightly different depending on the kind of protective order requested.
There is no filing fee or cost for the court forms to ask for a protective order.
The petitioner files the papers in the district court in the county where either the petitioner or the respondent lives, or where the events occurred. Utah Code 78B-7-104.
Step 2 – The court reviews the request
When a Request for Protective Order is filed, a judge will usually review the request the same day. The judge will either:
Grant the request
The judge will sign a temporary "ex parte" protective order and schedule a hearing within 20 days. Usually the temporary order will only last until the hearing. The sheriff or constable will serve a copy of the order on the respondent if they are in Utah. If the respondent is outside of Utah, the petitioner must contact a sheriff or constable in the state where respondent lives to arrange for service. The order becomes effective once it is served.
In a cohabitant protective order case, the respondent can ask for a hearing sooner than the scheduled hearing by filing a Respondent's Request to Vacate Temporary Protective Order form before the hearing date. However, this might not actually change the hearing date. Utah Code 78B-7-604(4).
Deny the request
If the judge denies the request for a protective order the petitioner can ask for a hearing to present evidence to try to convince the court that a protective order should be issued. To ask for a hearing, the petitioner must file a Request for Hearing form with the court within five days. The court will notify the petitioner of the hearing and have the respondent served with the Petition and notice of the hearing. No Temporary Protective Order will be in place during this time.
Step 3 – The petitioner and respondent go to the hearing
If the court grants a temporary protective order, it will schedule a hearing within 20 days. The date and time for the hearing will be written on the temporary protective order.
The hearing is to give both parties a chance to present any evidence and argument about why the court should or should not issue a three-year protective order. Both parties should bring any evidence and witnesses they have to the hearing. If a party does not attend the hearing, or does not bring their evidence to the hearing, that party will miss their opportunity to present their side of the story and their evidence.
Both the petitioner and respondent should go to the hearing.
- If the respondent does not come to the hearing, the court may grant the protective order without any input from the respondent.
- If the petitioner does not come to the hearing, the court will dismiss the temporary protective order.
- If the respondent has not been served with a copy of the temporary protective order before the hearing, the petitioner can still attend the hearing and request an extension of the temporary protective order, or the case will be dismissed.
The court may extend the 20 day period for a temporary protective order only if a party swears they are not able to be present at the hearing for a good reason, the respondent has not been served with the temporary protective order, or if there are exigent (urgent and important) circumstances.
The hearing will be in front of a judge or a commissioner, depending on the district. In Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, commissioners handle protective order cases.
After listening to both parties, the judge or commissioner will decide whether to dismiss the temporary protective order or to enter a final protective order. If the court issues a final protective order, the temporary protective order will remain in place until the final protective order is served on the respondent.
Final Protective Order
If the court issues a final protective order, both parties will get a copy of the order if they are at the hearing. If the respondent is not at the hearing but is in Utah, the sheriff will serve the respondent with a copy of the order. If the respondent is outside of Utah, the petitioner will have to arrange for a sheriff or constable to serve the respondent in the state where the respondent lives.
Enforcing the protective order
All protective orders have two parts: criminal and civil. The criminal part of the order includes the personal conduct, no contact, stay away, weapons restriction and property orders. The civil part can include orders on child custody, financial support, use of phones and utilities and retrieving personal property.
If the respondent violates the criminal parts of the protective order, the petitioner can call 9-1-1 for help. The first violation of a protective order is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine. Subsequent violations are a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. See the criminal penalties web page for more information.
If either party violates the civil portions of the order the other party can file a motion for order to show cause to ask the court to enforce the order, and the violating party could be held in contempt of court.
If respondent needs to get personal belongings
Sometimes a respondent is required to stay away from the petitioner's home, but the respondent needs to get personal belongings from the home. Here are some options for dealing with this situation:
- Contact the police to help get the belongings;
- File a motion with the court to change the order.
How long the order lasts
If the protective order was issued after July 1, 2020, all of the provisions will typically expire after three years.
If the protective order was issued before July 1, 2020, it could have one of several different expiration dates, including 180 days, one year, 10 years, or no expiration date. Read the order carefully.
Challenging the court's decision
Either party can challenge the court's decision. The process depends on whether a commissioner or a judge made the decision.
- If a commissioner made the decision, the petitioner or respondent can file an objection within 10 calendar days after the day on which the commissioner enters the recommended order. The assigned judge will hold a hearing on the objection within 20 days after the day on which the objection is filed. See the Objecting to a Commissioner's Recommendation web page for more information and forms.
Note: the Objecting to Commissioner's Recommendation web page describes a 14 day deadline for objecting, but the deadline is 10 days when objecting to a protective order.
- If a judge made the decision, the process to challenge the decision is to file an appeal with the Utah Court of Appeals. See the Appeals web page for more information.
Asking to extend a final protective order
If a petitioner wants to extend the time the protective order is in effect, they must file a request to extend the protective order before the day on which the order expires. The petitioner must have the respondent served with a copy of what they file. The court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the court must find that certain conditions have been met. What the court must find will depend on the type of protective order.
If the court grants the request, the sheriff or constable will serve a copy of the order on the respondent if they are in Utah. If the respondent is outside of Utah, the petitioner must contact a sheriff or constable in the state where respondent lives to arrange for service. The order becomes effective once it is served.
If the court denies the request, the protective order expires on the date listed in the protective order.
Limit on extending sexual violence protective orders
A sexual violence protective order can be extended once, for three years. The petitioner can request a new sexual violence protective order if they need protection beyond the period of the original order + the three year extension.
Asking to change or dismiss a final protective order
The process to ask to change or dismiss a protective order depends on whether the petitioner or respondent is making the request.
The petitioner can ask to modify an existing protective order by filing a Request to Modify Protective Order at any time. The process is basically the same as explained above in the How a protective order is issued section. The petitioner files a request and the court decides whether or not to issue an ex parte modified order that will be served on the respondent.
The petitioner can ask to dismiss a protective order at any time by filing a Petitioner's Request to Dismiss Protective Order and having the documents served on the respondent. The court will schedule a hearing.
The respondent can ask to modify or dismiss a protective order by filing a motion asking to modify the protective order, or a Respondent's Request to Dismiss Protective Order form. The request must be served on the petitioner, and the court will schedule a hearing.
Special rules for cohabitant protective orders
The respondent in a cohabitant protective order can ask the court to amend or dismiss the order that has been in effect for at least one year by filing Respondent's Request to Dismiss Protective Order. The request must show all of the following:
- the reason for the issuance of the protective order no longer exists
- the petitioner repeatedly acted contrary to the order or intentionally or knowingly tried to cause respondent to violate the order, and
- the petitioner's actions show that the petitioner no longer is reasonably afraid of the respondent
If the parties also have a pending divorce or custody case, the civil provisions regarding custody and parent time can be modified at any time. The other civil provisions of a cohabitant protective order can be modified in a divorce case 150 days after the protective order was issued. The parties have to agree in writing or on the record to dismiss the civil provisions or the court in the divorce case must find good cause to modify the civil provisions.
The court cannot vacate the criminal provisions of a cohabitant protective order within two years of when it was issued unless certain conditions are met. The petitioner must appear at a hearing (after having been personally served by a sheriff or constable) or submit a verified affidavit agreeing to have the criminal provisions vacated.
A protective order can include language that prohibits the respondent from owning firearms. Read the protective order carefully, and consider talking to an attorney. See our Finding Legal Help web page for information about free and low ways to get the help of an attorney.
Registering an order from another state
A protective order from another state can be registered in Utah by filing a certified copy of the order and an Affidavit for Filing an Out-of-State Protective Order form in any district court.
Request a protective order
- Use OCAP, the Online Court Assistance Program to prepare all the documents needed to ask for a protective order.
- Request for Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Temporary Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Notice of Hearing - PDF | Word
- Service Assistance Form - PDF | Word
- Use OCAP, the Online Court Assistance Program to prepare all the documents needed to ask for a protective order.
Request a hearing on a protective order
Forms needed by petitioner to request a hearing for a protective order when the Temporary Protective Order has not been issued
Request a protective order be changed
Request a temporary protective order be changed
Forms needed by petitioner to request a Temporary Protective Order be changed
Request a temporary sexual violence protective order be changed
Forms needed for petitioner to request a temporary sexual violence protective order be changed
Request a final protective order be changed
Forms needed for petitioner to request a final protective order be changed
Request a final sexual violence protective order be changed
Forms needed for petitioner to request a final sexual violence protective order be changed
Request a protective order be vacated or dismissed
Request a temporary protective order be vacated (respondent)
Forms needed by respondent to request a temporary protective order be vacated
Request a protective order be dismissed (petitioner)
Forms needed by petitioner to request a protective order be dismissed
Request a final protective order be dismissed (respondent)
Forms needed by respondent to request a Final Protective Order be dismissed
Request a temporary or final sexual violence protective order be dismissed
Forms needed to request a temporary or final sexual violence protective order be dismissed
Request to Extend a Protective Order
Request to extend sexual violence protective order
Forms needed to request a final sexual violence protective order be extended
Request a Protective Order From Another State be Registered in Utah
Forms needed by Petitioner to request that a Protective Order from another state be registered in Utah
Court or law enforcement use only
- Order Dismissing Request for Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Dismissing Request for Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Denying Temporary Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Denying Temporary Dating Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Denying Temporary Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Denying Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Denying Dating Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Extending Temporary Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Order Denying Request to Extend Sexual Violence Protective Order - PDF | Word
- Adult Protective Services
- Child Protective Order
- Civil Stalking Injunction
- Cohabitant Protective Order
- Dating Violence Protective Order
- Filing Procedures
- Finding Legal Help
- Free Legal Clinics
- Going to Court
- Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP)
- Safety Planning (Utah Domestic Violence Coalition)
- Sexual Violence Protective Order
- Utah Code 78B-7-101 et seq., Protective orders generally
- Utah Code 78B-7-201 et seq., Child Protective Orders
- Utah Code 78B-7-401 et seq., Dating Violence Protective Orders
- Utah Code 78B-7-501 et seq., Sexual Violence Protective Orders
- Utah Code 78B-7-601 et seq., Cohabitant Abuse Protective Orders
- Utah Code 78B-7-701 et seq., Civil Stalking Injunctions
- Utah Domestic Violence Coalition
The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.