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Know the Laws: Utah

UPDATED November 15, 2016

Enforcing your Out-Of-State Order in Utah

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If you are planning to move to Utah or are going to be in Utah for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Utah

back to topCan I get my protective order enforced in Utah? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your protective order can be enforced in Utah as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**
Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

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back to topCan I have my out-of-state protective order changed, extended, or canceled in Utah?

No.  Only the state that issued your protective order can change, extend, or cancel the order.  You cannot have this done by a court in Utah.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued.  You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living.  Find out if this is possible in your state by calling the clerk of the court that issued your order.  To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Order page for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in Utah, you may be able to get a new one issued in Utah but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Utah.  To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Utah, visit our UT How to Get a Protective Order page.

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Registering your out-of-state order in Utah

back to topWhat is the National Crime Information Center Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico.  It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Utah, the state that issued your protective order may already have entered your order into the NCIC.  If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in Utah.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

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back to topHow do I register my protective order in Utah?

To register your protective order in Utah, you need to present a certified copy of your order to the clerk of the district court.  The clerk will ask you to sign an affidavit (a written statement sworn under oath) that, to the best of your knowledge, an order is currently in effect and that the respondent (abuser) was personally served with the order (i.e. that court or law enforcement officials gave him/her a copy of the order).*1

The clerk of the district court will have the court that issued your order send a copy of it to the state domestic violence database (online registry).*2  When your order has been registered, the clerk will give you a certified copy of your registered order.*3

There’s no fee to register your order.*4  It’s always a good idea, though, to bring a photo ID with you when you register your order.
If you need help registering your protective order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Utah for assistance.  You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our UT Where to Find Help page.

*1 U.C.A. 1953 § 78B-7-116(2)
*2 U.C.A. 1953 § 78B-7-116(2)(d)
*3 U.C.A. 1953 § 78B-7-116(2)(f)
*4 U.C.A. 1953 § 78B-7-116(2)(a)

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back to topDo I have to register my protective order in Utah in order to get it enforced?

No.  Utah state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protective order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect, or the officer otherwise believes that a valid (real) order exists.*  It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Utah police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid order.

* U.C.A. 1953 § 78B-7-304(4)

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my protective order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our UT State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

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back to topWhat if I don't register my protective order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe.  While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protective order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a Utah law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real.  Meaning, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Utah.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Utah, go to our UT State and Local Programs page.

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back to topDoes it cost anything to register my protective order?

No.  There is no fee for registering your protective order in Utah.*

* U.C.A. 1953 § 78B-7-116(2)(a)

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back to topI was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protective order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in Utah?

Yes.  As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,* Utah can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area.  To find a lawyer in your area click here UT Finding a Lawyer.

* The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

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