What Is A Protective Order In Utah?

In the state of Utah a protective order is in an order which is both criminal and civil in nature. If two parties have been cohabitants, meaning they were married, related by blood, have children in common, are the biological parent of an unborn child or they have resided in the same residence and there has been domestic violence than a protective order can be obtained.

The order gives the court discretion to keep the parties apart, where it becomes a crime if the respondent has any further contact with the petitioner other than what is set forth in the order. It can also order quite a number of things such as temporary child support, temporary custody or temporary visitation. Additionally, it can also order that a party doesn’t have access to firearms and also issue similar orders. It comes down to what the petitioner asks for in the protective order petition.

In the State of Utah once an order has been issued, there are civil provisions and as well as criminal provisions. The criminal provisions are generally no contact provisions or there are limitations on the contact. Those do not go away without a court order. They are indefinite and if someone violates that provision that becomes a crime. All the petitioner then has to do is call law enforcement, advise that there has been a protective order violation of the criminal provisions. Police can then arrest or cite the violator. The civil provisions, on the other hand, relate to matters including temporary custody, temporary visitation and temporary child support. If those provisions are violated, that would not be considered a crime.

Protective orders can award custody, visitation, child support or temporary possession of a home. In order to have the other party sanctioned for a civil provision, you would have to file a motion in a civil court. The criminal provisions obviously last much longer whereas, the civil provisions generally expire after 150 days, unless specifically extended by the court. The civil provisions act as a band aid to give the petitioner time to file, whether it be a divorce petition or a custody petition, and to get temporary orders in place in that new custody case.

Often, it can take time to get temporary orders in place, and so this is a method of obtaining orders very quickly for a short term basis until you can get into the proper court on those civil provisions.

How Is A Restraining Order Different From A Protective Order?

In the vocabulary of Utah courts, a restraining order is civil in nature. Usually a restraining order is an order in a divorce, custody case, or paternity case that restrains the contact of the parties. For example, even if a protective order is not in place there can be civil restraining orders in a divorce or a paternity case that prohibit the parties from contacting each other except in certain ways. It prohibits each other from dissipating marital assets, or from disparaging the other party in front of the children, or any other behavior that the court believes needs to be restrained.

Again, it is civil in nature so to enforce it you have to file what is known as an order to show cause to have the other party sanctioned. Unlike under criminal provisions, you can’t call the police and tell them there has been a violation in the civil restraining order. Again, it is not a crime to violate a civil restraining order even though it might be in contempt to do so. The main difference between a restraining order and a protective order are the remedies for enforcement. In a protective order you can call law enforcement, at least for the criminal provisions, whereas by definition the restraining order in Utah is going to be civil in nature, so you have to file an order to show cause instead.

For more information on Protective Order In Utah, 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