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The Utah Judiciary is committed to the open, fair, and efficient administration of justice under the law. Find important information on what to do about your case and where to find help on our Alerts and Information Page due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

El poder judicial de Utah está comprometido a la administración de justicia de una manera abierta, justa y eficiente bajo la ley. En nuestra página Información y alertas encontrará información importante sobre qué hacer en cuanto a su caso y dónde encontrar ayuda debido al impacto del brote de COVID-19.

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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.

Motion to Enforce Domestic Orders (Order to Show Cause)

Asking the court to enforce an order

If you have a court order or decree and the other party is not following some or all of it, you can ask the court to enforce that order.

The steps in the process vary depending on which judicial district is handling the case, but starts with filing a Motion and Declaration for Order to Show Cause. This is a request to the court to order the other party to explain ("show cause") why they should not be held in contempt for disobeying the court's order.

The court will schedule a hearing. The notice about the hearing is called an Order to Show Cause.

At the hearing both parties will have the chance to explain their position. The purpose of the hearing is to get the party who is not following the court's order to do what the order requires. The judge or commissioner will determine whether or not the party not following the order:

  • knew about the order,
  • had the ability to follow the order, and
  • willfully failed to comply with the order

If the court finds a party is able to do what the court has ordered and has not, the court can also impose penalties, including – in extreme circumstances – fines and jail time

Procedures

Procedures are similar around the state, but there are differences.

Contact the court in which the motion is filed to confirm the procedures for that court.

Overview of Process

Existing Order. A motion for an order to show cause can be filed only to ask the court to enforce an existing order, like a divorce decree or parentage decree.

Filing Fee. There is no filing fee for a motion for order to show cause.

Registering a Foreign Order. If the order was not issued by a Utah court, then first register the foreign order with the appropriate Utah court. For more information and forms, see our webpage on Registering a Foreign Order. (If you are seeking only a writ of assistance to help you enforce a foreign custody order, there are special requirements that are beyond the scope of this website. See Utah Code Section 78B-14-311.)

Motion Granted or Denied. The court will review your motion and determine whether to hold a hearing. Court staff will tell you whether your motion has been denied or if there will be a hearing. If the court decides to hold a hearing, court staff will record the date, time and place on the order to show cause which must be signed by a judge.

Serving Papers. The moving party must have the order to show cause and the motion and any supporting documents personally served on the other party by a sheriff, constable or private investigator as soon as possible. If the other party is represented by an attorney, or if ORS is a party in the case, or if the children are represented by a Guardian ad Litem, a copy of the documents must be emailed, mailed or hand delivered to them.

If ORS or GAL is Involved. If you are asking the court to enforce a child support order and the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) is involved with collecting child support, then the Child Support Division of the Attorney General must receive copies of the motion for order to show cause, statement supporting the motion, and order to show cause.

If a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) attorney has been appointed for the children, then that attorney must receive copies of these documents. These documents can be mailed to the attorneys.

Responding to the Motion. At least 14 days before the hearing (if the motion is being heard by a commissioner) or within 14 days of the motion being filed (if the motion will be decided by a judge), the responding party may file with the court and must serve on the other parties any documents responding to the motion. In the Fifth District, the responding party does not have to file any documents before the first hearing.

Hearing. All parties must attend the hearing. Contact the staff for the judge or commissioner holding the hearing to find out whether the hearing is an evidentiary hearing and, if so, whether the evidence will be presented by proffer or by witness examination.

  • If the hearing is an evidentiary hearing, all parties must be prepared to present their evidence.
  • If the hearing is not an evidentiary hearing, the court will schedule one if one is still needed after the first hearing. The judge or commissioner might schedule the second hearing while the parties are present at the first, or the moving party might need to contact the court afterwards to schedule the second hearing.
  • If the parties can negotiate a settlement before or at the first hearing, a second hearing usually is not needed.

Order. The court will enter an order in accordance with the settlement or after a hearing. An order to pay money is a judgment, but it is not a contempt order. A contempt order will order some type of punishment for the offending party, which may include jail time and/or the payment of a fine.

Collecting a judgment

If the court enters a judgment for past due child support, alimony or other amount, the moving party can take the steps to collect that amount, just as in any other judgment. For more information and forms, see our webpage on How to Collect a Judgment.

Contact the Office of Recovery Services to find out whether they can help collect a judgment.

Forms

Forms for Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4

Forms for the moving party
Required forms
  • Motion and Declaration for Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
  • Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
  • Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
Optional forms
  • Reply Memorandum Supporting the Motion - PDF | Word
    (If the other party has disagreed with the motion and presented a new matter in their response, and the moving party wishes to respond)
  • Objection to Form of Order or Judgment - PDF | Word
    (Used to object to the proposed order or Judgment)
  • Request for Contempt Hearing - PDF | Word
    (Used only if the court commissioner certifies the contempt issues for a hearing before the judge)
Forms for the responding party
Required forms
  • Memorandum Opposing Motion - PDF | Word
Optional forms
  • Objection to Form of Order or Judgment - PDF | Word
    (Used to object to the proposed order or judgment)

Forms for Judicial District 5

Forms for the moving party
Required forms
  • Motion and Declaration for Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
  • Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
  • Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
Optional forms
  • Objection to Form of Order or Judgment - PDF | Word
    (Used to object to the proposed order or Judgment)
Forms for the responding party
  • Objection to Form of Order or Judgment - PDF | Word
    (Used to object to the proposed order or judgment)

Forms for Judicial Districts 6, 7, and 8

Forms for the moving party
Required forms
  • Motion and Declaration for Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
  • Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
  • Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF | Word
Optional forms
  • Reply Memorandum Supporting the Motion - PDF | Word
    (If the other party has disagreed with the motion and presented a new matter in their response, and the moving party wishes to respond)
  • Objection to Form of Order or Judgment - PDF | Word
    (Used to object to the proposed order or judgment)
Forms for the responding party
Required forms
  • Memorandum Opposing Motion - PDF | Word
Optional forms
  • Objection to Form of Order or Judgment - PDF | Word
    (Used to object to the proposed order or judgment)

Related Information

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.


Page Last Modified: 5/19/2020
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