A Utah protective order is the means by which a person (the Petitioner) can get court ordered protection from another person (the Respondent). The “protection” is in the form of a court order, usually stating that the Respondent stay away from the Petitioner, or the Petitioner’s house, car, job, etc. Protective orders are a big part of family law because often times when emotions run high, one of the parties will feel threatened, and resorts to requesting a Utah protective order from the court. If this happens contact Pearson Law Firm for a free consultation with an experienced Protective Order/Divorce Attorney.
How do I get a Protective Order?
You do not need an attorney to get a Utah protective order, in fact most people don’t use an attorney when they initially seek a protective order, however it is recommended that you hire an attorney for the subsequent hearing and other proceedings. In order to get a Utah protective order, the Petitioner can go to any District Courthouse and inform the court clerk that he/she is seeking a protective order. The clerk will give the Petitioner some forms to fill out, and eventually the Petitioner will meet with a judge and explain the situation and why he/she feels threatened. If the judge believes that the petitioner is in danger then he will issue and sign a Temporary Protective Order, typically ordering that the Respondent stay away from Petitioner, and sometimes the children, including schools, places of work, vehicles, etc. At the time the Utah protective order is issued, the court will also set a time and date for a Hearing on the Temporary Protective Order, this is the Respondent’s opportunity to defend himself/herself and try to get the Utah Protective Order dismissed. Typically this hearing will take place within 20 days of the issuance of the Temporary Protective Order.
How long does a Utah Protective Order Last?
A Temporary Utah Protective Order lasts until the hearing, at that point it is either dismissed or it becomes a permanent protective order. A permanent protective order lasts two years, unless a party petitions the court to dismiss the protective order based on a significant change in circumstances. If the parties agree among themselves to dismiss the Utah protective order, they still need to go to court to have it officially dismissed. Even if the Petitioner no longer wants the protective order in place, and initiates contact with the Respondent, it is still a technical violation of the protective order and the respondent can be charged with violating the Utah protective order. So a Respondent needs to be aware of his/her rights and responsibilities if he/she has a protective order issues against him/her.
How can I fight a Utah Protective Order?
Unfortunately, since temporary Utah protective orders are issued based on the unilateral testimony of one person, the allegations are often times exaggerated or simply untrue. Even if this is the case, the Respondent is bound by the protective order until the date of the hearing. The hearing is the Respondent’s first opportunity to tell his side of the story and try to get the protective order dismissed. The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” applies here, so it is the Petitioner’s responsibility to prove that the Respondent is a risk to the Petitioner or their kids if they have children together. If the Petitioner cannot meet his/her burden of proof then the Utah protective order should be dismissed.
If at all possible, parties are always better off trying to settle these matters outside of court, even after a temporary Utah protective order has been issued (often settlement discussions need to go through an attorney, if the protective order prohibits contact). The court only has two options, dismiss the Utah protective order, or make it permanent. Parties can get more creative and agree to dismiss parts of it, or incorporate portions in a Divorce Decree or Custody Order, etc. Obviously, if there has been abuse then you don’t want to do anything that would put you or your children at risk.
Your attorney at Pearson Law Firm can help you determine if a Utah protective order is necessary, and, if so, what should be included. If you have a protective order issued against you, your attorney can help you protect yourself and preserve your rights, especially when it comes to your children. Contact Pearson Law Firm for a free consultation with an experienced Utah protective order attorney/divorce attorney. No matter what side you are on, Pearson Law Firm can help you. Call today! 801-888-0991.