Civil Protective Orders
Today I argued an interesting case defending against a request for a protective order. The details are sensitive, but the intent of the statute was the central issue. In Utah, you may obtain a protective order if you have been abused in the past or if there is a substantial likelihood of current abuse: meaning you do not have to show both those conditions. A petitioner can request a protective order based on past abuse alone, and the court may not deny the petition based on a passage of time alone. However, the intent of the statute is to provide "a timely and simplified process whereby some level of protection and safety could be afforded to victims." Therefore, there must be some showing of reasonable fear of abuse. This distinction between a "substantial likelihood of abuse" and "a reasonable fear of abuse" is an important one.
Domestic violence is a problem on epidemic levels in Utah. Although it can be experienced by any gender, it is most often experienced by women. If you have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse, there are shelters and victim advocacy agencies throughout the state. Miller Family Law can also help you obtain a timely protective order.
On the other hand, some people in the divorce process or in the middle of a custody dispute use protective orders to harass the other party and gain the upper hand. These orders carry significant penalties and could impact your custody and parent-time for years to come. If you need help defending against a wrongful or over-reaching protective order, Miller Family Law can help.