Utah Divorce Order to Show Cause: Order to Show Cause Checklist

This is the last in a series of posts about enforcing Utah divorce decrees.

So far, I’ve provided the following:

  1. The possible penalties/punishments for violating a divorce decree.
  1. How to file a motion for contempt (i.e., a motion for an order to show cause).
  1. A template sworn declaration.
  1. A template order to show cause.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, these will hopefully help you on your way to filing for an order to show cause. But, providing templates and explaining the process still leaves some pretty big holes in knowledge, which leads to poor execution.

Because of this, I wanted to provide the last piece of the puzzle: our internal order to show cause checklist.

This is the same checklist our attorney use when they draft our order to show cause documents. It’s meant to lay everything out systematically so nothing is missed. Hope it helps.

Brown Family Law’s Order to Show Cause Checklist

OSC Checklist (Initial Each Step As it is Completed)

Initial Prep

____    Ensure there is an order signed by the Court

____    Make sure the order is operative (usually the last Order, although in many cases there are multiple orders address different facets of the case)

____    Identify each individual violation of an order/orders present in the case

____    Quickly summarize (no more than ten words) each individual violation in chronological order; include for each violation


Time (as close as possible)

____    Specifically identify all evidence presently available to prove each individual violation

____    Write each piece of evidence under the quick summary of each individual violation, indicating you have it (Have it or HI)

____    If necessary to prove a violation, identify additional evidence needed

____    Write each piece of additional evidence under the quick summary or each individual violation, indicating you need it (Need it or NI)

____    Identify the source of the additional evidence (e.g., receipts from client, police reports, narratives from client re incident to incorporate in to sworn declarations)

____    Write the source identification under the correlated additional evidence necessary to prove each individual violation

____    Repeat the above steps until all violations are identified and all evidences (both presently available and still needed) are laid out on a single document (preferably a one-page document)

Acquiring Additional Evidence

____    If needed evidence will come from client, send email to client requesting each individual evidence needed; be as specific as possible

____    Give client a deadline within which client must provide you with all evidence

____    Calendar the deadline

____    If evidence will come from other sources (GRAMA request, witnesses, etc.), create plan to acquire evidence by a deadline date (this may include assigning the task to the paralegal)

____    Calendar the deadline

Writing the OSC and Sworn Declaration

____    Use template OSC found in forms and pleadings folder

____    If there are multiple portions of the order violated, organize the violations in to sections (e.g., violations regarding parent-time, violations regarding non-payment of medical bills)

____    If there are multiple violations of the same portion of the order, briefly explain each violation individually in the same section (using different numbered paragraphs, for example)

____    First lay out the portion of the order violated by referencing the order, then briefly explain how OC violated that portion of the order (this should be very brief since you will expound on it in the Sworn Declaration(s))

____    Repeat this process for every individual violation

____    Prepare sworn declarations in such a way that they only address the violations alleged in the OSC, delineate sections of the sworn declaration correlating to the violation alleged (e.g., violations regarding parent-time, violations regarding non-payment of medical bills), quote the portion of the order violated, then explain each violation, laying out and citing all evidence necessary to prove that particular violation

____    Ensure the OSC, including all evidence, does not violate the page limit in Rule 101 (10 pages for initial and responding memoranda, and 5 pages for replies; party may not provide more than a total of 25 pages per OSC without leave of the court)

____    Prepare any summaries or charts necessary to keep under page limit

____    Check and recheck figures on all summaries and charts to ensure accuracy

____    Send OSC to client to review

____    Make any necessary changes after client’s review

____    If ex parte motion for over-length memorandum is necessary because of the OSC’s voluminous nature, prepare

Filing and Scheduling

____    File finished OSC (and over-length motion, if necessary) with court

____    If summaries and charts were used, email OC all evidence underlying those summaries and charts

____    Email copy of OSC and underlying evidence to client

____    Schedule OSC hearing

____    File Notice of Hearing

____    Email Notice of Hearing to client

____    Put deadline dates on calendar (Rule 101)


____    Receive and annotate response

____    Email response to client

Possible Objections/Sanctions

____    If respondent does not include exhibits referred to in response, prepare and file Objection under Rule 101(h)(2)

____    If response is not timely, file motion requesting late filing sanctions under Rule 101(j)

____    Email all pleadings to client


____    Calendar reply due date; must be filed at least seven calendar days before the hearing (e.g., if the hearing is on a Friday, the reply would be due the Friday before, although Thursday would be preferable)

____    Identify arguments to respond to

____    Identify any additional evidence necessary to reply

____    Acquire all additional evidence necessary in manner explained above

____    Draft reply, ensuring you do not go over the page limit of 25 total pages

____    Send reply to client to review

____    Make any necessary changes after client’s review

____    File reply

____    Email reply to client

Sworn Declaration for Attorney Costs and Fees

____    Prepare and file sworn declaration for attorney costs and fees (as well as any other costs and fees necessitated by having to file the OSC)

____    File sworn declaration one to two days before the hearing

____    Email sworn declaration to client

Published On: March 6th, 2017Categories: Enforcing Court OrdersComments Off on Utah Divorce Order to Show Cause: Order to Show Cause Checklist
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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