How Are Protective Orders Filed?

A protective order is initiated by one party filing a protective order petition, which must be done using specific state approved forms which can be obtained online. There is also usually a victim’s advocate either at the police station or at the courthouse who can assist. Along with the petition, an ex parte, or a temporary order, is then submitted. The purpose of the ex parte order is to ask the judge to ensure the other side will not know that this is being submitted, with the understanding that we will have a hearing very soon. Under Utah law, the hearing must take place within 20 days of the issuance of the ex parte or the temporary order, and it is to see if the order is going to remain in place permanently. Once the attorney, victim’s advocate or person themselves will submit to the court a protective order petition and proposed order. There is no fee and it will immediately be given to a judge.

The judge will then review the facts in the petition, determine if the parties are cohabitants, and ask him or herself, “If the allegations contained herein are true, do they meet the requirements set forth in the statute for a protective order?” If the answer is yes, the judge will then sign the ex parte or the temporary protective order, and it will be uploaded to the law enforcement system.

Law enforcement will then be directed to serve the order on the other party. In the ex parte or the temporary protective order there will be a date and a time for the respondent to show up at a hearing, at which point the petitioner is going to have to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence (which is essentially 51% of the evidence or more) that they are cohabitants and that the domestic violence occurred.

If at that hearing they are able to meet that criteria, then a permanent protective order will enter. If the respondent does not show up for the hearing and the petitioner does, then the petitioner will be entitled to a default and will win automatically, assuming that the respondent has been properly served.

On the other hand, if the respondent shows up and the petitioner does not, then the order will automatically be dismissed.

Can A Protective Order Ever Be Modified Or Dismissed?

If both parties agree, then a protective order can be changed and the court can enter a modified protective order. However, the court on its own authority can also modify the protective order if there is sufficient reason and evidence to do so. For example, if the involved parties are having a hearing in a divorce or custody manner, and evidence is presented to the judge that shows the protective order ought to be modified, the court on its own authority can do so.

The Impact Of Having A Protective Order Placed Against You

Having a protective order placed against you means it will show up as part of your criminal record. That can impact many areas of a person’s life including potentially scaring away potential employers who run a background check, for example. Additionally under federal guidelines someone who has a protective order against him or her cannot possess firearms.

Additionally if someone is an immigrant, then a protective order can be a very serious issue as it may negatively impact their ability to be naturalized, or they might have their immigration status revoked.

For more information on Filing A Protective Order, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 616-3301 today.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children