How Long Do Domestic Violence Protective Orders Last?

In Utah, spouses who suffer domestic violence can request something called a protective order.

I won’t talk too much about everything a protective order entails or what you have to prove to get a protective order (click here if you would like that information), but I do want to talk about how long protective orders last.

Protective orders are broken down into two categories.

The first category consists of provisions that protect a person from bodily harm and communication from his/her abuser. These provisions include:

  1. No-harm provisions
  2. No-contact provisions
  3. Stay-away provisions (stay away from the abused’s car, home, church, work)
  4. No-firearms provisions

The second category consists of provisions that address other matters, like:

  1. Custody and parent-time
  2. Alimony
  3. Child support

The reason I talk about the two sections is each category lasts for a different amount of time.

Provisions in the first category last indefinitely (i.e., forever) unless dismissed by the court.

(Couple caveats: 1. After two years, the court may dismiss a protective order if the court believes the person who requested the protective order no longer has a reasonable fear of future harm or abuse. If there’s still a reasonable fear of future harm, the protective order will last indefinitely. 2. After one year, the court can dismiss a protective order if the court finds, among other things, that the basis for the protective order no longer exists, or the person who requested the protective order violated the protective order or tried to get the other person to violate the order.)

Provision in the second category last only 180 days, unless modified by another court order (e.g., temporary orders).

The reason for this is the provisions in this second category aren’t really about keeping someone safe. They’re designed to last a short time until everyone can get in to court and have temporary orders. So, if the divorce court hands down orders that are different than these second category provisions in the protective order, the divorce court orders prevail.

If you don’t go to temporary orders within 180 days, these second category provisions stop having any effect.

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