- Use OCAP, the Online Court Assistance Program to prepare all the documents needed to ask for a protective order.
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.
If you want to ask the court for a protective order and…
you live in Salt Lake County.
contact Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake to see if you qualify for free representation.
you live outside Salt Lake County.
contact Utah Legal Services to see if you qualify for free legal representation.
contact Timpanogos Legal Center for help with preparing your documents.
Call their Hotline 801-649-8895
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."
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:
If the respondent violates a protective order they can be arrested and charged with a crime.
There are different types of protective orders depending on the relationship between the petitioner and the respondent.
If you are the petitioner and your relationship to the respondent is…
And you are facing…
Then you can file for a…
a cohabitant, which means you:
you are or were dating or in a dating relationship, which is:
A dating relationship does not mean casual fraternization in a business, educational, or social context.
dating violence or abuse
you have no relationship, but were sexually assaulted by them
sexual violence, including:
An employer and they are a customer or came to your business
none of the above
see the Civil Stalking Injunction web page.
A minor with a parent or guardian can file.
If a minor child (under 18 years old) is in danger of physical or sexual abuse, see the Child Protective Orders web page .
The petitioner fills out the required forms:
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.
When a Request for Protective Order is filed, a judge will usually review the request the same day. The judge will either:
The judge will sign a temporary "ex parte" protective order and schedule a hearing within 21 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).
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 have the respondent served with the Petition and notice of the hearing. No Temporary Protective Order will be in place during this time.
If the court grants a temporary protective order, it will schedule a hearing within 21 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.
The court may extend the 21 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.
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.
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 to enforce order to ask the court to enforce the order, and the violating party could be held in contempt of court.
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:
If the protective order was issued after May 5, 2021 then the civil provisions of the protective order generally last 150 days unless the court finds good cause for extending the expiration date. The criminal provisions of the protective order will typically expire after three years.
If the protective order was issued between July 1, 2020 and May 4, 2021, 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.
Either party can challenge the court's decision. The process depends on whether a commissioner or a judge made the decision.
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. See the Forms Section below and scroll down to the "Request to Extend a Protective Order" section.
Type of order
What the court must find
Cohabitant protective order
Dating violence protective order
Sexual violence 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.
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.
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.
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:
If the parties also have a pending divorce, parentage,custody, or guardianship case, the civil provisions of the protective order can be modified at any time through that pending case. In that pending case, the parties have to agree in writing or on the record to dismiss or modify the civil provisions of the protective order or the court must find good cause to dismiss or modify the civil provisions of the protective order.
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.
Either party can file a motion to ask the court to extend the civil provisions beyond the 150 days. The court must find good cause to extend the expiration date of the civil provisions. We do not have forms specifically for this purpose. Please see Motions webpage for forms.
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.
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.
Forms needed by petitioner to request a hearing for a protective order when the Temporary Protective Order has not been issued
Forms needed by petitioner to request a Temporary Protective Order be changed
Forms needed for petitioner to request a temporary sexual violence protective order be changed
Forms needed for petitioner to request a final protective order be changed
Forms needed for petitioner to request a final sexual violence protective order be changed
Forms needed by respondent to request a temporary protective order be vacated
Forms needed by petitioner to request a protective order be dismissed
Forms needed by respondent to request a Final Protective Order be dismissed
Forms needed to request a temporary or final sexual violence protective order be dismissed
Forms needed to request a final cohabitant protective order be extended
Forms needed to request a final Dating Violence Protective Order be extended.
Forms needed to request a final sexual violence protective order be extended
Forms needed by Petitioner to request that a Protective Order from another state be registered in Utah