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Motion to Enforce Domestic Orders (Order to Show Cause)


Talk to an attorney

You are not required to hire an attorney, but enforcing an order can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. One way to talk to an attorney is to visit a free legal clinic. Clinics provide general legal information and give brief legal advice. You might also hire an attorney for just part of your case or to do one particular thing, rather than represent you for the whole case. For more information, see our webpage on Finding Legal Help.


Motion and hearing to enforce a court order

The party seeking to enforce the order or decree files a Motion for an Order to Show Cause and a supporting statement of facts showing the ways in which the other party has failed to obey the court order. If that claim is sufficient, the court will schedule a hearing and order the other party to appear and show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court.

At the hearing both parties will have the opportunity to tell their version of the events. The judge or court commissioner will determine what the facts are. For more information and suggestions about presenting your case in court, see our webpage on Going to Court.

The main objective of the show cause hearing is to get the party who is not following the court’s order to do so. If a party is able to do what the court has ordered and does not, the court can also impose penalties, including, in extreme circumstances, a fine and time in jail.


Procedures

Procedures are similar around the state, but there are differences. Motions for orders to show cause in Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be determined initially by a court commissioner and parties should follow Rule of Civil Procedure 101 . Motions for orders to show cause in Districts 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be determined by a judge. Parties in the Fifth District should follow Code of Judicial Administration Rule 10-1-501 .Parties in Districts 6, 7, and 8 should contact their local court for details. Contact the court in which the motion is filed to confirm the procedures for that court. In general:

  • A motion for an order to show cause can be filed only to ask the court to enforce an existing order, like a divorce decree or parentage decree. There is no filing fee for a motion for order to show cause.
  • If the order was not issued by a Utah court, then first register the foreign order with the appropriate Utah court. For more information and forms, see our webpage on Registering a Foreign Order. (If you are seeking only a writ of assistance to help you enforce a foreign custody order, there are special requirements that are beyond the scope of this website. See Utah Code Section 78B-14-311.)
  • The court will review your motion and determine whether to hold a hearing. The judicial services representative will inform you whether your motion has been denied or if there will be a hearing. If the court decides to hold a hearing, the judicial services representative will record the date, time and place on the order to show cause which must be signed by a judge.
  • The moving party must have the order to show cause and the motion and any supporting documents personally served on the other party by a sheriff, constable or private investigator as soon as possible.
  • If you are asking the court to enforce a child support order and the Office of Recovery Services is involved with collecting child support, then the Child Support Division of the Attorney General must receive copies of the motion for order to show cause, statement supporting the motion, and order to show cause. If a Guardian ad Litem attorney has been appointed for the children, then that attorney must receive copies of these documents. These documents can be mailed to the attorneys.
  • No later than 7 days before the hearing, the responding party may file with the court and serve on the other parties any documents responding to the motion. (In the Fifth District, the responding party does not have to file any documents before the first hearing.)
  • All parties must attend the hearing. Contact the judicial assistant for the judge or commissioner who will conduct the hearing to find out whether the hearing is an evidentiary hearing and, if so, whether the evidence will be presented by proffer or by witness examination.
  • If the hearing is an evidentiary hearing, all parties must be prepared to present their evidence.
  • If the hearing is not an evidentiary hearing, the court will schedule one if one is still needed after the first hearing. The judge or commissioner might schedule the second hearing while the parties are present at the first, or the moving party might need to contact the court afterwards to schedule the second hearing.
  • If the parties can negotiate a settlement before or at the first hearing, a second hearing usually is not needed.
  • The court will enter an order in accordance with the settlement or after a hearing. An order to pay money is a judgment, but it is not a contempt order. A contempt order will order some type of punishment for the offending party, which may include jail time and/or the payment of a fine.

Collecting a judgment

If the court enters a judgment for past due child support, alimony or other amount, the moving party can take the steps to collect that amount, just as in any other judgment. For more information and forms, see our webpage on How to Collect a Judgment.

Contact the Office of Recovery Services (ors.utah.gov) to find out whether they can help collect a judgment.


Forms

Some forms may not apply in all cases.

Forms in Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4

View Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4

Forms for the moving party
  • Checklist for filing a motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Statement Supporting the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Reply to Statement Opposing the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (If the other party files a Statement Opposing the Motion, then the moving party may file a Reply but only to respond to something being raised for the first time in the opposing statement. If the opposing statement and its supporting documents merely make statements of fact and legal arguments against the points made in the motion, then the moving party cannot file a Reply.)
  • Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Proposed Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Request for Contempt Hearing - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (required only if the court commissioner certifies the contempt issues for a hearing before the judge)
Forms for the responding party
  • Checklist for responding to a motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Statement Opposing the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Proposed Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word

Forms in Judicial District 5

View Judicial District 5

Forms for the moving party
Forms for the responding party
  • Checklist for responding to a motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Proposed Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word

Forms in Judicial Districts 6, 7, and 8

View Judicial Districts 6, 7, and 8

Forms for the moving party
  • Checklist for filing a motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Statement Supporting the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Reply to Statement Opposing the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (If the other party files a Statement Opposing the Motion, then the moving party may file a Reply but only to respond to something being raised for the first time in the opposing statement. If the opposing statement and its supporting documents merely make statements of fact and legal arguments against the points made in the motion, then the moving party cannot file a Reply.)
  • Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Proposed Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
Forms for the responding party
  • Checklist for responding to a motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Statement Opposing the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Proposed Order on Motion for Order to Show Cause - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word

Related Information



Page Last Modified: 5/9/2014
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