Should I File a Protective Order or a Restraining Order in Provo, Utah?

In Utah, you can file a protective order and restraining order if you want to stop violent or threatening behavior.

These two orders are used interchangeably though they are very different. Let us help you understand the difference between the two orders and how to best protect yourself and your children.


What is a Protective Order?

A protective order is filed to protect you and your family from a violent individual who is cohabiting with you.

This legal action starts by filing a formal request for a Utah protective order with your local district court in Provo, Orem, or your nearest town. If the judge grants your request, you will be issued with a temporary protective order to serve you until the date of the hearing- two weeks from the time the temporary order has been issued.

The respondent (the one who the protective order is being taken against) will be served with the temporary protective order along with a notice of the date of the hearing by the Utah County Sheriff’s office.

During the hearing, the respondent will have a chance to defend themselves against your accusations. The judge will thereafter decide whether to issue you with a permanent protective order or dismiss the temporary one.

In order to get a Utah protective order, you will be asked to provide a past account of violent behavior and explain your present fear of abuse or violence by the respondent.

The respondent has to be your former or current cohabitant- a blood relative, parent of your child, roommate or a former or current spouse. However, this does not include your parent or child, a stranger, an unrelated acquaintance or a relative who is below the age of 18 years.

If the judge grants you a protective order, the respondent is legally restricted from committing certain things. This may include communicating with you, physical contact, coming near your home, place of work, school or vehicle.

If you have children with the respondent, the court will make provisions for parenting time and how the respondent will communicate with the children.

A Utah protective order has criminal and civil provisions.

If the respondent violates the criminal provisions, they may be arrested or criminally prosecuted. If the respondent violates the civil provisions, they will be returned to court to attend a contempt proceeding.

The only way to dismiss or modify a protective order is if you approve of such changes. Otherwise, the respondent will have to wait two years before requesting the court to dismiss the order.


What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is obtained for restraining any kind of behavior or action. It is mainly obtained when you file a motion in a court case that is currently going on.

For instance, in a paternity action, divorce case or civil law suit, you can file a Utah restraining order to stop the other party involved in the case from performing a particular action. You could stop the respondent from contacting you, using alcohol or drugs around your children, destroying property, etc.
A restraining order can either be permanent or temporary depending on your need at the time. If the respondent fails to adhere to a restraining order, they are taken back to court for a contempt proceeding. During such a proceeding, he/she may get a variety of sanctions based on the degree of violation.


When deciding on filing a protective or restraining order, it is crucial to have a lawyer advise you on the appropriate kind of action based on your situation.

Furthermore, involving an attorney during such proceedings will allow you to get the restrictions you want and also take action if the respondent violates these restrictions. Hiring an Provo family attorney will help you protect yourself and your children from violent or any other actions by the respondent.

About the Author

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Kelly Peterson handles child custody, visitation, paternity, grandparent rights and mediation cases.

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