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Legal Information: Utah

Utah Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

Cohabitant Abuse Protective Orders

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic violence and abuse in Utah?

This section defines domestic violence and abuse for the purposes of getting a protective order:

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. 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. If you do not qualify for a cohabitant abuse protective order, you may be able to get a civil stalking injunction. You can read more about this type of order on our Stalking Injunctions page.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-102(1)
2 UT ST §§ 78B-7-102(5); 77-36-1(4)

What types of protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of protective orders in Utah.

A temporary ex parte protective order can be granted if the judge believes it that domestic violence or abuse has occurred or that there is a substantial likelihood domestic violence or abuse will occur. The purpose of the order is to protect you from harm, and any other “protected parties” in your petition.1 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.2 If the judge does not grant you an ex parte order, you can still request to have a hearing for a final protective order within five days after the judge denies your petition.3

A final protective order can be issued only after a court hearing in which both you and the abuser both have a chance to appear in court and present evidence to tell your sides of the story. If the abuser decides not to attend, a protective order can still be granted by the judge. You still may be required to testify about the incidents in your petition.4 A final protective order lasts for three years.5 However, it’s possible for the order to last more than three years, until a date that the judge determines, if you file a motion before expiration of the protective order in which you prove that:

  1. the abuser has been convicted of a protective order violation or any crime of domestic violence after the protective order was issued; or
  2. you have a “reasonable fear of future harm, abuse, or domestic violence.”5

However, it is possible that after a certain period of time the abuser can file in court to ask for the order to be dismissed. The time period is usually one year but there are exceptions.5 For more information, go to Can the abuser or I request that the order be dismissed? In addition, if you and the abuser are going through a divorce, this can affect the length of the order. See If I am going through a divorce, will that affect the length of my protective order? for more information.6

1 UT ST § 78B-7-603(1)(a)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-604(1)(a)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-604(3)
4 UT ST § 78B-7-603(3)
5 UT ST § 78B-7-606
6 UT ST § 78B-7-605

What protections can I get in a cohabitant abuse protective order?

In an ex parte protective order, the judge can order that the abuser:

  1. stop committing or threatening to commit domestic violence or abuse and stop harassing you or any family or household member named in the order;
  2. stop calling, contacting, or communicating with you or anyone named in the order in any way, including indirect contact. There is an exception for communication related to any parent-time provisions in the order;
  3. be excluded from (leave) your home;
  4. stay away from your vehicle, home, school, work, place of worship or any other specific place you go to often unless the abuser attends the same school, is employed at the same place of employment, or attends the same place of worship – in that case, the judge cannot order the abuser to stay away from those places but can regulate the abuser’s behavior in those places;
  5. stay away from a family or household member’s vehicle, home, school, work, place of worship or any other specific place your family or household member goes to often unless the abuser attends the same school, is employed at the same place of employment, or attends the same place of worship – in that case, the judge cannot order the abuser to stay away from those places but can regulate the abuser’s behavior in those places;
  6. not purchase, use, or possess a firearm or other weapon specified by the judge Note: To order this, the judge must find that the abuser’s use or possession of a weapon may pose a “serious threat of harm to you”;
  7. give you use of an automobile or any other personal items and order that law enforcement accompany you to your residence to make sure that you are safe while getting possession of these items;
  8. not interfere with or change the your phone, utility or other services;
  9. not use alcohol or illegal drugs before or during visitation; and
  10. not take the children out of Utah.1

An ex parte protective order can also include any of the following:

  1. grant you or another person temporary custody of any minor children you share with the abuser;
  2. order an attorney to be a guardian ad litem for any minor children to represent their interests;
  3. order the respondent to maintain an existing wireless telephone contract or account;
  4. order you and the abuser to provide financial documents at the hearing for a final protective order if you requested child support or spousal support; and
  5. order anything else the judge decides is necessary for your safety and the safety of your family or household members.2

In a full (final) protective order, the judge can order:

  1. all of the protections in numbers 1 through 9 and in numbers 1 through 4, listed above; and
  2. the following additional protections:
    • order your wireless phone provider to:
      • transfer the account from the abuser’s name to yours; and
      • transfer to you any phone numbers that are primarily used by you or by someone with whom you will live while the order is in effect;
    • make arrangements for parenting time, with or without supervision by a third party, or deny parenting time if it is necessary to protect the safety of you or your child;3 and
    • child support and/or spousal support .4

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-603(2); see the temporary protective order form
2 UT ST § 78B-7-603(2)
3 UT ST §§ 78B-7-603(3),(4); 78B-7-117; see the protective order form
4 See UT ST § 78B-7-603(7)

In which county can I file for a protective order?

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.1

1 UT ST § 78B-7-104

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Who can get a protective order

Who can file for a protective order?

You can get a protective order for yourself and your minor child against a “cohabitant” who commits domestic violence or abuse against you or when the judge believes there is a “substantial likelihood” of abuse or domestic violence.1 A “cohabitant” is defined as someone who is at least 16 years old and is:

  • your current or former spouse;
  • someone who is or was living as if s/he were a spouse;
  • a person related to you by blood or marriage - including a parent, grandparent, sibling, or any other person related by blood or marriage to the second degree;
  • someone with whom you are or were in a consensual sexual relationship;
  • a person with whom you have a child in common;
  • someone with whom you are expecting a child, if one of the parties is pregnant; or
  • a person with whom you live/lived in the same home.2

A “cohabitant” does not include:

  • the relationship of natural parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent to a minor; or
  • the relationship between natural, adoptive, step, or foster siblings who are under 18 years of age.3

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. 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. If you do not qualify for a cohabitant abuse protective order, you may be able to get a civil stalking injunction. You can read more about this type of order on our Stalking Injunctions page.

1 UT ST​ § 78B-7-602(1)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-102(4)(a)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-102(4)(b)

Can I get a protective order against a same-sex partner?

In Utah, you may apply for a protective order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can file for a protective order? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence or abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence/abuse in Utah?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

Can I get a protective order if I am a minor?

If you are a minor, to file for a protective order on your own, you and the person the protective order is against must be at least 16 years old, married, or emancipated.1 If you are under 16, an adult can file a child protective order on your behalf in juvenile court.2

1 UT ST § 78B-7-102(4)(a)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-202(1)

Can I get a protective order against a minor?

You may be able to get a protective order against an abuser who is 16 years or older or someone who is under 16 but is legally emancipated or married.1

If both the petitioner and the abuser are under 16 years of age, an adult may file for a child protective order on behalf of a child in juvenile court.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-102(4)(a)

Can two people have protective orders against each other (mutual orders)?

When two people have protective orders issued against each other, this is often referred to as “mutual orders.” A court can only grant mutual orders if each person:

  • files an independent petition against the other for a protective order, and both petitions are served (in other words, if only one person files a petition, a judge can’t decide to issue mutual orders as a result of that one petition);
  • proves at a hearing that the other person committed abuse or domestic violence; and
  • proves that the abuse or domestic violence committed by the other person was not self-defense.1

However, if the person filing for a protective order is already the respondent (or criminal defendant) on an existing dating violence protective order, cohabitant abuse protective order (from Utah or another state), a child protective order, or ex parte child protective order, the following additional restrictions apply before the order can be issued:

  1. the case must be heard in the same court that issued the existing protective order; or
  2. if the case is being heard in a different court, the judge must:
    • determine that it would be impractical for the original court to hear the case; or
    • contact the court that issued the original protective order to discuss the matter.2

1 UT ST § 78B–7–108(1)
2 UT ST § 78B–7–108(3)

How much does it cost to get a protective order? Do I need a lawyer?

There is no filing fee to get a protective order.1

Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a protective order, it may be to your advantage to have a lawyer, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations on the UT Places that Help page. In addition, the domestic violence organizations in your area may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms. If you are not represented by an attorney, the clerk is required to provide assistance with filling out the forms and filing your paperwork.2 You will find contact information for courthouses on the UT Courthouse Locations page.

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-105(3)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-105(2)(c)

What if I do not qualify for a protective order?

If you do not qualify for a protective order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Safety Tips page. You will find a list of Utah resources on our UT Places that Help page.

If you were not granted a protective order because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify you for one, you may be able to seek protection through a dating violence protective order if you are being abused by someone who you dated but with whom you never lived. 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. If you do not qualify for a cohabitant abuse protective order, you may be able to get a civil stalking injunction. You can read more about this type of order on our Stalking Injunctions page. You may also be able to report any criminal behavior to the police.

Note: If you were denied an ex parte protective order, you can still request to have a hearing for a full protective order within five days of when the judge denies the petition.1 At the hearing, you may want to present evidence and witnesses to help prove to the judge why you need a protective order. See At the Hearing for more information on how to go about this. It may also be helpful to have a lawyer.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-604(3)

Steps for getting a protective order

Step 1: Go to a district court and request an application.

Go to the district court in the county where you live, where the abuser lives, or where the abuse took place.1 You can find a court near you by going to our UT Courthouse Locations page. Find the civil court clerk and request a petition for a protective order. You may also find links to petitions online by going to our UT Download Court Forms page.

1 UT ST§ 78B-7-104

Step 2: Fill out the necessary forms.

The clerk will give you with the forms that you need to file. On the protective order form, you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be the “respondent.”

Carefully fill out the forms. Write about the most recent incidents of violence and the physical harm that you suffered, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Be specific. Include details and dates, if possible. It will also be important to write any previous incidents of abuse and any other court action you have taken against the abuser.

If you need assistance filling out the forms, ask the clerk for help. Some courts may have an advocate that can assist you. If you do not have a lawyer, the clerk is responsible for providing you with assistance in filling out your protective order form.1 A domestic violence organization may also be able to provide you with help filling out the forms. See UT Advocates and Shelters for the location of an organization near you.

Note: Be sure to sign the forms in front of the court clerk. Once you have completed your paperwork, return them to the clerk.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-105(2)(c)

Step 3: A judge will review your application

After you finish filling out your application, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition. The judge will decide whether or not to issue the ex parte order.

If the judge grants you an ex parte order, the court clerk will give you a copy of the order. Review the order before you leave the courthouse to make sure that the information is correct. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave. Be sure to keep the order with you at all times. You may want to keep copies in your car, workplace, or child’s daycare.

If you seek a full protective order, the judge will set a date for a hearing within 20 days.1 You will be given papers that state the time and date of your hearing for a full protective order.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-604(1)(a)

Step 4: Service of process

The abuser must be served with a notice of hearing and with any protective order that a judge has granted you. The order is not valid until the abuser has been served with it. The clerk will send the order to the county sheriff for service.1 The sheriff or other law enforcement officer will then attempt to find the abuser and serve him/her with the ex parte order, if the judge gave you one, as well as notice of the scheduled hearing for the full protective order. 2

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

1 UT ST § 78B-7-603(5)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-603(8)

Step 5: The hearing

It is very important that you attend the court hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your ex parte order will expire and you will have to start the process over. If you absolutely cannot attend, contact the court immediately and ask how you can get a “continuance” for a later court date.

If the abuser does not attend the hearing, the court may issue a “default judgment” against him/her and you may receive a full protective order in his/her absence. The judge also may decide to pick a new hearing date to give the abuser another chance to come to court. If this happens, be sure to ask the judge to extend your ex parte order if you have one.

At the hearing, you may have the chance to testify in court and present evidence and witnesses to prove the abuse and harassment you have experienced. The abuser may also be allowed to be present evidence and testify in the hearing to defend himself/herself. You may want to get a lawyer to represent you at that hearing, especially if you think the abuser will have one. See the UT Finding a Lawyer page for a listing of free and paid lawyers. If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, you can visit our At the Hearing section for ways you can show the judge that you were abused. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession. There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Utah have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
  • If you are concerned that the abuser will harass you when you leave the courthouse, ask the court officer if s/he would escort you to the door of the building. If you are afraid the abuser may follow you once you leave the courthouse, explain this to the court officer. The court officer might hold the abuser there for a few minutes while you leave so that you can get a head start, which would make it difficult for the abuser to trail you. This could be especially important if you are living in a shelter or confidential location and you do not want the abuser to know where you are staying.
  • Make several copies of the protective order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.

Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not. It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips. Advocates at local resource centers can also assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support as well.

I did not get a protective order. What can I do?

If you are not granted a protective order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They may be able to help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. You will find a list of Utah programs on our UT Advocates and Shelters page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Safety Tips page.

If you were denied an ex parte protective order, you can still request to have a hearing for a final protective order within five days from when the judge denied the petition.1 At the hearing, you may want to present evidence and witnesses to help prove to the judge why you need a protective order. See At the Hearing for more information on how to go about this. It may also be helpful to have a lawyer.

You can also reapply for a protective order if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.

If you were not granted a protective order because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify you for one, you may be able to seek protection through a dating violence protective order if you are being abused by someone who you dated but with whom you never lived. 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. 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 type of order on our Stalking Injunctions page. You may also be able to report any criminal behavior to the police.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-604(3)

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

It is a crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order. Your protective order should indicate which violations are considered a criminal offense and which violations require you to return to court for a civil contempt proceeding.1 You can call the police or sheriff for criminal violations. An abuser can be arrested, fined and jailed for criminal violations of the order.

Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the protective order, it could help you have the protective order extended or modified. It is also a good idea to write down the name of the responding officers and their badge numbers in case you want to follow up on your case.

If the police do not make an arrest in response to a violation of your protective order or the violation is not a criminal offense, you may still file for civil contempt against the abuser yourself in a district court. If you feel that that an arrest should have been made by the police but they failed to do so, you can file a complaint through the attorney general’s victim advocacy council. You can find the complaint form on the Office of the Attorney General website.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-105(1)(b)(ii)

Can I modify the order?

If you want to have your order changed (modified), you will have to go back to the court where you received the order and file a motion for another hearing. See the Utah Courts website for the necessary form to modify a protective order.

The court can immediately grant the modification without the abuser (ex parte) if it is necessary to protect you or your children. Otherwise, the judge will set a date for a hearing where you can make your case for why you are requesting the modification.1 Remember, if the judge does not grant your modification ex parte, you can still request a full hearing on your motion within five days from when the judge denies your petition. Before the hearing, the abuser will be served with a copy of the motion and a request to be present at the hearing.2 You must attend this hearing and tell the judge why the change is necessary.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-603(1)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-604(3)

Can the abuser or I request that the order be dismissed?

The judge could dismiss the civil protections (the second group listed on the order) at any time if one party files a petition requesting this and the other side is properly served and has a chance to appear at a hearing.1

If either party files in court to dismiss the criminal protections of the order within the first two years, a judge will only do so if you personally appear in court and give specific consent to the criminal provisions of the protective order being dismissed, or you must do so in a sworn affidavit.2

However, the court can dismiss a protective order after one year without your consent if the judge finds that all of the following are true:

  • the reason that the protective order was issued no longer exists;
  • you have repeatedly acted in a way that goes against the terms of the protective order, trying to intentionally or knowingly try to cause the respondent to violate the protective order;
  • your actions show that you no longer have a reasonable fear of the respondent; and
  • the abuser has not been convicted of a protective order violation or any crime of violence since the order was issued and there are no unresolved charges involving violent conduct still on file with the court.2

Note: Make sure you inform the court of your new address if you move so you can be sure to receive notice of any hearing.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-603(10)
2 UT ST §§ 78B-7-105(5)(c); 78B-7-605(1)

What happens if I move?

Your protection order is good anywhere in the state of Utah. Additionally, federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including all 50 states, U.S. territories and tribal lands.1 Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. You can find out about your state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area. You can also find information on our website under Moving to Another State with a Protective Order or Enforcing Your Out-Of-State Order in the state you have moved to (choose your new state from the drop-down menu on the left of the screen).

If you are moving to a new state, you may want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111, ext. 2) if you have questions about enforcing your order in another state.

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.

1 18 U.S.C. §§ 2265-2266

If I am going through a divorce, will that affect the length of my protective order?

If a divorce proceeding is pending between parties to a protective order action, the protective order will be dismissed when the court issues a decree of divorce if:

  • the respondent (abuser) files a motion to dismiss the protective order in both the divorce action and the protective order action (and you are personally served with both); and
  • either of the following happen:
    • both you and the abuser agree, in writing or orally, during the divorce case to dismiss the protective order; or
    • based on evidence at the divorce trial, the judge determines that you no longer have a “reasonable fear of future harm, abuse, or domestic violence.”1

1 UT ST § 78B-7-605(3)

Dating Violence Protective Orders

Basic info and definitions

What is the legal definition of dating violence in Utah?

For the purposes of getting a dating violence protective order, you must be the victim of dating violence or abuse by a dating partner. Dating violence is when your dating partner commits:

  • any criminal offense involving violence or physical harm or threat of violence or physical harm; or
  • any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit a criminal offense involving violence or physical harm against you.1

Abuse by a dating partner is defined as:

  • causing or attempting to cause you physical harm; or
  • placing you in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm.2

1 UT ST § 78B-7-102
2 UT ST § 78B-7-102(1)

What is the legal definition of a dating relationship?

A dating relationship is a social relationship that is romantic or intimate, or that is the goal of you or the other person. However, a dating relationship does not have to involve sexual intimacy.1

In deciding whether you and the abuser have a dating relationship, the judge will consider the whole situation and surrounding circumstances, including:

  • whether you and the abuser formed an interpersonal bond beyond casual socializing;
  • the length of your relationship;
  • the nature and amount of interactions between you and the abuser, including communications showing the intent to start a dating relationship;
  • ongoing expectations of you and the abuser about the relationship;
  • whether you and the abuser presented yourselves as a couple to others either by actions or statements; and
  • whether there are other reasons to support or disprove a finding that a dating relationship exists.2

1 UT ST § 78B-7-102(9)(a)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-102(9)(c)

What types of dating violence protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of dating violence protective orders in Utah:

  1. a temporary (ex parte) dating violence protective order; and
  2. a dating violence protective order issued after notice.

A temporary (ex parte) dating violence protective order can be granted without notice to the abuser.1 The judge must schedule a hearing date for a final protective order within 20 days after issuing the temporary order.2 A judge cannot extend your order for more than 20 days unless you are unable to be at the hearing, the abuser has not been served, or there are other extreme circumstances. However, the temporary order cannot be extended for more than 180 days from when the judge first issued the order.3

A dating violence protective order issued after notice and the opportunity for a hearing can last for three years.4

1 UT ST § 78B-7-402(2)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-405(1)(a)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-405(b),(c)
4 UT ST § 78B-7-405(e)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Getting the order

Who is eligible for a dating violence protective order?

You can file for a dating violence protective order if you are a victim of abuse or dating violence by a dating partner.1 A dating partner is someone who is either emancipated from his/her parents, which means that person is a legal adult, or is 18 years old or older and is or has been in a dating relationship with you.2 You do not have to have taken any steps to end the relationship before filing for a dating violence protective order.3 If you and the abuser are married, were previously married, have a child together, or currently or previously lived together, you are not eligible for a dating violence protective order but may be eligible for a cohabitant abuse protective order.4

1 UT ST § 78B-7-403(1)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-102(8)(a)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-403(2)
4 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(32); UT ST § 78B-7-403(6)

Where can I file for a dating violence protective order?

You can file for a dating violence protective order in district court. The district court judge will decide whether or not to grant you a temporary (ex parte) order based on the facts of your case.1

If the district court judge does not grant you a temporary (ex parte) order and you still want a dating violence protective order, your case will still be scheduled for a hearing and the abuser will be served with notice unless your case is dismissed. You will have a chance to prove that you need the order at a hearing.2

1 See UT ST § 78B-7-403
2 UT ST § 78B-7-405(3)

What are the steps for getting a dating violence protective order?

The steps to get a dating violence protective order are similar to the steps to get a cohabitant abuse protective order, but you may fill out different paperwork. The court clerk will provide you with the forms you need and with non-legal help filling them out. You can find the contact information for your clerk on the UT Courthouse Locations page. You can also download court forms on our UT Download Court Forms page.

Can two people have protective orders against each other (mutual orders)?

When two people have protective orders issued against each other, this is often referred to as “mutual orders.” A court can only grant mutual orders if each person:

  • files an independent petition against the other for a protective order, and both petitions are served (in other words, if only one person files a petition, a judge can’t decide to issue mutual orders as a result of that one petition);
  • proves at a hearing that the other person committed abuse or dating violence; and
  • proves that the abuse or dating violence committed by the other person was not self-defense.1

However, if the person filing for a protective order is already the respondent (or criminal defendant) on an existing cohabitant abuse or dating violence protective order (from Utah or another state), a child protective order, or ex parte child protective order, the following additional restrictions apply before the order can be issued:

  1. the case must be heard in the same court that issued the existing protective order; or
  2. if the case is being heard in a different court, the judge must:
    • determine that it would be impractical for the original court to hear the case; or
    • contact the court that issued the original protective order to discuss the matter.2

​1 UT ST § 78B–7–409(1)
2 UT ST § 78B–7–409(3)

How much does it cost to file for an order?

There is no fee to file for an order or to have a dating violence protective order served by law enforcement.1

1 UT ST § 78B-7-406(2)

Sexual Violence Protective Orders

Basic info

What is the legal definition of sexual violence in Utah?

Utah considers it sexual violence for the purpose of getting a protective order when someone who is not a cohabitant or dating partner commits or tries to commit any of the following to you:

  • rape;
  • object rape;
  • forcible sodomy;
  • forcible sexual abuse;
  • aggravated sexual assault;
  • sexual offense against the victim without consent;
  • sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult;
  • distribution of an intimate image;
  • sexual extortion;
  • human trafficking for forced sexual exploitation; or
  • aggravated human trafficking for forced sexual exploitation.1

Note: If you are the victim of sexual violence committed by a cohabitant or dating partner, you may qualify for a Cohabitant Abuse Protective Order or a Dating Violence Protective Order.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-502(5)

What types of sexual violence protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of sexual violence protective orders in Utah: temporary orders and final orders issued after a hearing.

Temporary Orders:
A temporary sexual violence protective order is an order that can be granted on the day you first apply for an order in court. Whether you get this order will be based on the information you include in your petition as well as your testimony or any evidence you present when you are in front of the judge who is reviewing your petition. You can get the order “ex parte,” which means without the abuser being present in court or notified of your application for a temporary order.1 The temporary order will last up to 20 days or until your court hearing for an extended order takes place. This time can only be extended if:

  • a party is not able to attend the hearing because of a good reason (good cause) and the party sends an affidavit to the court explaining this good cause;
  • the respondent has not been served; or
  • there is some other important and convincing reason (exigent circumstances).2

Final Orders:
A final order will last for up to one year.3 The judge can grant a final order after the abuser has been given notice of the court hearing and a hearing takes place in which you and the abuser each have an opportunity to present evidence, witnesses, and testimony to prove your case.4 You may want to have a lawyer represent you at this hearing, especially if you think the abuser will have one. For free and paid legal services, go to our UT Finding a Lawyer page.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-504(1)(a)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-505(1)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-505(1)(e)
4 UT ST § 78B-7-505(1)(a)

What protections can I get in a sexual violence protective order?

A temporary sexual violence protective order can:

  • order the respondent to stay away from you, your home, your school, your place of work, your place of worship, or any place you go to frequently;
  • prohibit the respondent from communicating with you or any of your household or family members mentioned in the order;
  • prohibit the respondent from threatening or committing sexual violence against you or your family or household members mentioned in the order; and
  • order anything else the judge thinks is necessary for your safety and the safety of your household or family members.1

After a hearing, whether or not the abuser comes to the hearing, the judge can:

  • order all of the protections listed above; and
  • order the following additional protections:
    • prohibit the respondent from purchasing, using, or possessing a weapon, such as a knife, but only if the judge decides that the use or possession of a weapon poses a serious threat of harm to you or to your household or family members;2 and
    • prohibit the respondent from possessing a firearm if there has been clear and convincing evidence presented at the hearing that the use or possession of a firearm creates a serious threat of harm to you or to your household or family members.3

1 UT ST § 78B-7-504(2)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-504(3)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-504(5)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

Getting the order

Who is eligible for a sexual violence protective order?

You can only file a petition for a sexual violence protective order if the person who committed sexual violence against you is:

  • not someone you have been in a relationship with (“dating partner”); and
  • not a family or household member (“cohabitant”), which is defined as:
    • a spouse or former spouse;
    • someone with whom you were living as if s/he were your spouse;
    • your relative (parent, grandparent, sibling, etc.);
    • someone with whom you have a child in common, or who is the parent of your unborn child;
    • a person who resides in the same house as you; or
    • someone with whom you are or were in a consensual sexual relationship.2

The law says that a person cannot seek a sexual violence protective order on behalf of a child.3 If a child has experienced abuse, the child might be eligible for a Child Protective Order.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-503(1)(a)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-502(2)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-503(1)(b)

How much does it cost to get a sexual violence protective order?

There is no fee to file for a sexual violence protective order and there is no fee to have the order served on the respondent.1

1 UT ST § 78B-7-507(1)

Do I need an attorney to get a sexual violence protective order?

You do not need a lawyer to get a sexual violence protective order, but it is often better to have one. If you do not have a lawyer, the court clerk, or an agency designated by the clerk, will provide you with forms and information regarding sexual violence protective orders.1 It may be in your interest to get an attorney, especially if you think the abuser will be represented by one. You may be able to find an attorney on our UT Finding a Lawyer page.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-507(3)

What are the steps to get a sexual violence protective order?

What can I do if the abuser violates the sexual violence protective order?

If you believe the abuser has violated the order, you can call the police, if that is a safe option for you. If the abuser has been served with a copy of the sexual violence protective order and violates the order, the police can immediately arrest him/her.1 Violation of a sexual violence protective order is a class A misdemeanor.2 A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail,3 a fine of up to $2,500,4 or both.

You can also file a motion in the court that issued the order to ask that the abuser be held in contempt of court, which basically means that you are asking that s/he be punished for violating the court order. The judge will review your motion and decide whether or not there will be a hearing. If there is a hearing, you would present evidence about how the abuser violated the order, the abuser would present his/her defense, and the judge would decide whether the order was violated and what punishment should be given to the abuser.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-508(1)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-508(2)
3 UT ST § 76-3-204(1)
4 UT ST § 76-3-301

Stalking Injunctions

Basic info and definitions

Who can get a stalking injunction?

Any person who believes s/he is a victim of stalking may file a petition for a stalking injunction at the district court. You can get a stalking injunction against anyone who is stalking you regardless of your relationship to that person.1 Unlike a protective order, it does not limit the individuals you can file an order against.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-701(1)

What is the legal definition of stalking?

Stalking is when a person intentionally or knowingly does two or more actions that:

  • cause you to fear for your safety;
  • cause you to fear for someone else’s safety; or
  • cause you emotional distress.1

Note: If a person violates a stalking injunction or a permanent criminal stalking injunction, s/he is also guilty of stalking.2

Stalking may include when someone:

  • follows, monitors, observes, photographs, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about you, or interferes with your property directly, indirectly, or through any third party and by any method or device;
  • approaches or confronts you;
  • appears at your workplace or contacts your employer/coworkers;
  • appears at your house, contacts your neighbors, or enters your property;
  • sends materials to you, your family, employer, co-worker, friend, etc.;
  • places an object or delivers an object to your property, or place of employment; and/or
  • uses the computer, text messaging, or some other electronic method to follow, monitor, or threaten you.3

1 UT ST § 76-5-106.5(1)(e), (2)
2 UT ST § 76-5-106.5(1)(e), (3)
3 UT ST § 76-5-106.5(1)(a)

What types of stalking injunctions are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of stalking injunctions: an ex parte civil stalking injunction and a final civil stalking injunction. Generally, when you apply for a stalking injunction, the judge will issue an ex parte civil stalking injunction that same day. It must be served upon the respondent within 90 days and it is not effective until it is served.1

The respondent then has ten days from the date s/he is served with the injunction to request a hearing to fight against the order being issued.2 If the respondent requests a hearing, it will usually be held within ten days from the date the request is filed with the court. At the hearing, the court may change, cancel, or continue the injunction for up to three years. It is your burden to prove at this hearing that the respondent committed stalking.3 However, if the respondent requests a hearing after the ten-day period after s/he was served, a hearing date will be held within a “reasonable time” but the burden then is on the respondent to show good cause why the civil stalking injunction should be dissolved or modified.4

If the respondent does not request a hearing within ten days of getting served with the injunction, the ex parte civil stalking injunction automatically becomes a final civil stalking injunction without further notice to the respondent.1 The civil stalking injunction will then last for three years from the date that the respondent was served with the ex parte civil stalking injunction.5

1 UT ST § 78B-7-701(6)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-701(4)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-701(4)(a), (5)
4 UT ST § 78B-7-701(7)
5 UT ST § 78B-7-701(4)(b)(iii)

What protections can I get in a stalking injunction?

A stalking injunction can:

  • prohibit the stalker (respondent) from stalking you;
  • order the stalker to stay away from your home, work, school, or other specific place or person;
  • prohibit the stalker from contacting you, directly or indirectly, including personal, written or telephone contact with you, your employers, employees, fellow workers or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm; and/or
  • include any additional relief that is necessary for the protection of you or other specific people named in your order.1

If you and the stalker have minor children together, the judge is supposed to take into consideration the stalker’s custody and parent-time rights while ensuring the safety of the you and your children. Note: If the judge issues a civil stalking injunction, but does not address custody and parent-time issues, a copy of the stalking injunction should be filed in any court proceeding in which custody and parent-time issues are being considered.2

1 UT ST § 78B-7-701(3)(a)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-701(3)(b)

Getting the order

Where can I get a stalking injunction?

You can file a petition for a stalking injunction at the district court where you live, where the stalker lives, or where any of the stalking events occurred.1

1 UT ST § 78B-7-701(1)

Can a minor get a stalking injunction?

If you are a minor, you can file a petition on your own (with your parent or guardian present), or a parent/guardian can file one for you.1

1 UT ST § 78B-7-701(1)

What are the steps to get a stalking injunction?

The steps to get a stalking injunction are similar to the steps to get a cohabitant protective order. Unlike a cohabitant abuse protective order, however, if you are granted an ex parte stalking injunction, that injunction can remain in effect unless and until the stalker requests a hearing to object to the order. The stalker can request a hearing within ten days of being served with the ex parte injunction.1 If the stalker does not request a hearing within the ten days, the ex parte injunction automatically becomes a civil stalking injunction and will be in effect for three years.2

See the Utah Courts website for the relevant forms for filing a petition for a civil stalking injunction. On the petition, you are the petitioner. You must include your address, as well as the name and address of alleged stalker (respondent). Note: If you do not want your address written on your petition, let the court staff know when you file your petition. Your address can be kept on a separate document which will not be released to the stalker. You must also describe the events and dates of the stalking, as well as any police reports, letters, or other information relevant to the events.4

If you have any questions, you can call the clerk of court. You can find the contact information for your clerk on the UT Courthouse Locations page. An advocate at a local domestic violence program may also be able to assist you with the paperwork. You can find contact information for local programs on the UT Advocates and Shelters page. Also, if you want to get legal advice and/or representation at the hearing, you can find legal referrals on our UT Finding a Lawyer page.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-701(4)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-701(6)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-701(2)

After an order is in place

Can the order be modified or dismissed?

An ex parte civil stalking injunction or a final civil stalking injunction can be dismissed (dissolved) at any time upon your request. You would have to file a petition in the court that issued the order.1 You may also file in court to modify the order.2

It’s possible that the respondent can also file in court to ask the court to dismiss or modify the order and the judge will set it down for a hearing where you will have the opportunity to be present and object to the respondent’s request. The burden is on the respondent to show “good cause” why the civil stalking injunction should be dismissed or modified.3

1 UT ST § 78B-7-701(10)
2 See UT ST § 78B-7-701(8)(b)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-701(7)

What happens if the stalking injunction is violated?

Violation of a stalking injunction is a crime, and you can call the police as soon as possible if the abuser violates the injunction. You can also file a contempt petition in the court that issued the stalking injunction.1

A violation of a stalking injunction comes under the criminal offense of stalking and would be a class A misdemeanor if it is the stalker’s first offense of stalking.2 If the stalker has previously been convicted of stalking, a felony, or meets certain other requirements, s/he may be guilty of a second or third degree felony.3

1 UT ST § 78B-7-703(1); Utah Courts website
2 UT ST § 76-5-106.5(6)
3 UT ST § 76-5-106.5(7), (8)

Child Protective Orders

You can request a child protective order on behalf of a child under the age of 18 in juvenile court if you are an adult who has not included that child in your own protective order (if you have one). The child must be a victim of physical or sexual abuse or must be in immediate danger of experiencing abuse.1 A minor who is 16 years old can file for a cohabitant abuse protective order on his/her own.

You can read the statutes covering child protective orders on our Selected Utah Statutes page. You can also find the forms to file for an order on the Utah Courts website.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-202(1)

Moving to Another State with a Protective Order

If you are moving out of state or going to be out of state for any reason, your protective order can still be enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my protective order from Utah enforced in another state?

If you have a valid Utah protective order that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law, states that all valid protective orders granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See How do I know if my protective order is good under federal law? to find out if your protective order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state protective orders in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if the abuser violates your out-of-state protective order, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by “full faith and credit.”

How do I know if my protective order is good under federal law?

A protective order is good anywhere in the United States 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.1
  • 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.2

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.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a),(b)

I have a temporary (ex parte) order. Can it be enforced in another state?

An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my protective order is good under federal law?1

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

Getting your Utah protective order enforced in another state

How do I get my protective order enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protective order enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid protective order is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1 Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your protective order with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

Do I need anything special to get my protective order enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protective order. A certified is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Utah, a certified order has the signature of a court official, the date, and a stamp of the state seal on it.

The copy you originally received was most likely a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. There is usually no fee to get a certified copy of a Utah protective order.1

Note: It may be a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move to leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. You may want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work, and to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-105(3)(c)

Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your protective order enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your protective order, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

Do I need to tell the court in Utah if I move?

The court that gave you your protective order needs to have an up-to-date address for you at all times because they will communicate with you only by mail if anything happens to your protective order – for example, if the abuser files in court to dismiss the order or to modify it. If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, you should provide the court with a new address where you can receive mail.

If you provide your new address to the court, you can ask that it be kept confidential. It will then be kept in a confidential part of your file, and the public will not have access to it. However, your new address could possibly be released to court officials in your new state or law enforcement officials in either Utah or your new state. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you can use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. Box instead.

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my protective order. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Whether you can take your kids out of state may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your protective order. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a domestic violence advocate or lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the Utah area on our UT Places that Help page.

I was granted temporary custody with my protective order. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a protective order can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266

Enforcing Your Out-Of-State Order in Utah

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

Can I get my protective order enforced in Utah? What are the requirements?

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.1
  • 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.2

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.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

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

Generally, 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 Restraining Orders page.

Registering your out-of-state order in Utah

If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?

To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1

There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.

Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.

1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016

How 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 that says that to the best of your knowledge, the order is currently in effect and that the respondent (abuser) was personally served with 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 Places that Help page.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-116(2)
2 UT ST § 78B-7-116(2)(d)
3 UT ST § 78B-7-116(2)(f)
4 UT ST § 78B-7-116(2)(a)

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

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.1 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.

1 UT ST § 78B-7-304(4)

Will 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.1  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 Safety Tips 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 Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

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

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 Advocates and Shelters page.

Does it cost anything to register my protective order?

There is no fee for registering your protective order in Utah.1

1 UT ST § 78B-7-116(2)(a)

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

As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 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.

1 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.