By nature protective orders are one sided, at least to begin with. In order to get a temporary protective order all a party has to do is convince a judge that he or she is in harms way. The party seeking protection (Petitioner) does not need to involve the “offending” party (Respondent) at this initial stage. As long as the Petitioner is convincing, a judge will almost always sign a temporary protective order, which can include language prohibiting the Respondent from being near the Petitioner or even places where the Petitioner might be, such as his/her work, school, or home.
What does a protective order do?
So why have protective orders?
In Utah, after the protective order is issued, the court will set the matter for a hearing within two weeks. That hearing is the Respondent’s first opportunity to tell his/her side of the story. At that hearing, the Petitioner has the burden to prove that there was just cause for issuance of the protective order. If the court finds just cause, then the protective order becomes permanent. If the Respondent does not meet his/her burden of proof then the protective order is set aside.
Violation of a protective order
I also had a client once that had a temporary protective order issued against him, he was allowed to see his kids but was not allowed to be near his wife or his wife’s vehicle. He met his daughter for lunch and his daughter drove the wife’s car to the restaurant. The wife reported this and the husband was arrested and jailed. The most difficult aspect of that case was the protective order was temporary and ultimately the allegations set forth by the Petitioner were deemed unfounded by the court. Nevertheless the Respondent now has a criminal record for violation of a protective order.
What can be done?
The court’s refusal to penalize this type of behavior only encourages people to abuse the system. After all, there is nothing to lose. At best (for the Petitioner) the Petitioner gets a permanent order issued, at worst the Respondent loses parent-time and freedom for a couple weeks, and maybe gets a criminal record. Until courts take an aggressive approach against people that are abusing and manipulating the system, the abuse will continue.
Your attorney at Pearson Law Firm has the experience to deal with protective orders, both on the Petitioner’s side and the Respondent’s side. Plus, if there is a protective order that was issued based on false allegations, your attorney will do everything he can to encourage the court penalize the Petitioenr in some way. Call Pearson Law Firm for a free consultation with a Utah divorce attorney that has the experience with protective orders to aggressively represent you. Call today! 801-888-0991