Know the Laws: Utah
UPDATED June 22, 2016
A protective order is a civil order that provides protection from a current or former dating partner, a member of your household, or someone you have a child in common with.
This section defines abuse for the purposes of getting a protective order.
Abuse, for the purposes of filing for a protective order in Utah, occurs when a “cohabitant”
Note: If you are being abused by someone who you dated but with whom you never lived, you may be eligible for a dating violence protective order (which lasts for 180 days) – see the Utah Courts website for more information. If you are seeking a protective order only for your child (and not also for yourself), your child may be eligible for a child protective order, which you can read more about on the Utah Courts website. If you do not qualify for a domestic violence protective order, you may be able to get a civil stalking injunction. You can read more about this typr of order on our Stalking Injunctions page.
* UT ST § 78B-7-102(1)
There are two types of protective orders in Utah. The first is called an ex parte protective order, which is designed to give you immediate protection. The second type is referred to simply as a protective order. We refer to it as a full protective order below so that it is easier to see the difference.
Ex Parte Protective Order
An ex parte protective order is designed to temporarily protect you from the abuser until you can have a court hearing for a full protective order. Ex parte is a Latin term that means “from one side.” Basically, it means that the abuser is not present when your petition is presented to the judge and does not receive prior notice that you are requesting the order.
A judge will grant you an ex parte order if s/he believes that one is necessary to protect you (and any other “protected parties” in your petition) from harm.* If the judge grants an ex parte protective order, s/he will set a date for a hearing within 20 days after the order is issued.*1 If the judge does not grant you an ex parte order you can still request to have a hearing for a full protective order.*2
A full protective order can be issued only after the abuser has an opportunity to attend a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story. The abuser must have proper notice of the hearing for the full protective order to be granted. If s/he decides not to attend, a full protective order can still be granted by the judge (and you still may be required to testify about the incidents in your petition).*3
The length of time that the full protective order lasts depends on the terms of the order. The civil part of the order, dealing with property, custody, etc., will either expire in 150 days or be reviewed by the judge in 150 days (and then possibly extended). The criminal part of the order, which deals with the abuser staying away from you, not contacting you, not abusing you, not having firearms, etc., can last forever. (Note: The protective order clearly divides up which sections are considered civil and criminal, as you can see on the Utah Courts website here.) After two years, the abuser can file in court ask for the order to be dismissed. *4 For more information, go to Can the order be dismissed by me or the abuser? Can I modify the order?
* UT ST § 78B-7-106(1)(a)
*1 UT ST § 78B-7-107(1)(a)
*2 UT ST § 78B-7-107(3)
*3 UT ST § 78B-7-106(3)
*4 UT ST § 78B-7-106(6); see Utah Courts website
In an ex parte protective order, the judge can order that the abuser:
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
* UT ST§ 78B-7-106(2)(a)-(e); see the temporary protective order form
** UT ST§ 78B-7-106(2)(f)-(h)
*** UT ST§ 78B-7-106(3); see the protective order form
**** See UT ST§ 78B-7-106(7)
You can file a petition at the district court in the county where you live, in the county where the abuser lives, or in the county where the abuse took place.*
* UT ST § 78B-7-104