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Civil Process Unit

One of the Sheriff’s statutory responsibilities is to provide the citizens of Salt Lake County a way to serve civil papers relating to judicial actions filed with the court. Some of the civil paper services offered are protective orders, judgements, garnishments, summons, writ of assistance and subpoenas. Our Deputies are professional and well trained in providing the best service to those involved in court cases.

General Questions

Ex Parte’, Protective Orders and Stalking Injunctions can be served by any law enforcement officer at any time.

All other civil papers requiring a service can be processed through the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Civil Division. The constable’s office may also serve most civil paperwork also.

How To Serve Papers

If you have papers that need to be served you can bring your papers and related fees to the Civil Division office located in the Sheriff’s Office Administration Building, located at 3365 South 900 West in South Salt Lake City, Utah.

The fees are determined by the type of process requested and the mileage that is traveled to serve the papers.

The Civil Division office can help you calculate what fees will be associated with your papers, please call 385-468-9758. You may also mail the paperwork to our office with the associated fees.

A criminal case is a court proceeding where a person is charged with having committed a crime against the community or state where they are brought to trial and either found not guilty or guilty and are sentenced.

A civil case is where a person (or entity) claims that another person (or entity) has failed to carry out a legal duty or obligation owed to them. Civil cased focus on damages done, or compensation for physical, emotional, and financial loses. A civil action can obtain compensation to pay for medical expenses, counseling, lost earnings, and earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Sometimes civil actions can be an option when a case is not viable for criminal prosecution because a civil case requires a less rigorous standard of proof. Only civil cases can be undertaken for family members of crime victims.

To check on the status of your papers being served call the Civil Division of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office at 385-468-9758. It will speed up locating your paperwork if you have the docket number assigned to you by the Sheriff’s Office Civil Division. We can look up your paperwork by searching the name of the person needing to be served, but it may take several minutes to conduct the search.

If you have any new information on the where to locate the person requiring service, please call the Civil Division office.

Utah state code 17-22-2.5 governs the amount of fees allowed for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office to collect for process service. The amount charged is determine by the type of process, plus mileage. Deposits are required for certain types of services. Refunds are issued if service is not completed or the deposit is more than the service rendered.

Fee Amounts

For exact amounts contact the Civil Division at 385.468.9758.
Checks are accepted if made out to Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.

General Service Fees

General Service Fees $20.00

Includes the service of:

  • Garnishment
  • Garnishee Execution Notice*
  • Order
  • Other process by which an action is commenced
  • Subpoena
  • Summons
  • Summons and Complaint
  • Sheriff's Deed

Service of Writs, Orders, Attachments & Executions

Service of Writs, Orders, Attachments & Executions $50.00

Includes the service of:

  • Attachment on Personal Property
  • Executing an order of arrest
  • Executing an order for the delivery of personal property
  • Writ of Assistance
  • Writ of Possession
  • Writ of Replevin
  • Writ of Restitution

Mileage Fees

Mileage Fees $2.50 per mile (for three service attempts)

Includes the service of:

  • Miles traveled one way for service (calculated from courthouse)
  • Miles traveled one way for service for two additional attempts (calculated from courthouse)
  • Miles traveled to transport a Civil Prisoner from place of arrest to the jail
  • Miles traveled to transport a Civil Prisoner from place of arrest to the magistrate (if not taken to jail)
  • Miles traveled to transport a Civil Prisoner from the jail to court
  • Miles traveled to deliver an insane person to the Utah State Hospital from the courthouse

Miscellaneous Process and Maintenance Fees

Includes the service of:

  • Notary Fees $10.00
  • Copies demanded or required by law $0.50/page

Commissions

Commissions or receiving and paying over money on execution or other process 2%. When the amount is less than $1,000 (minimum of $1.00) 1.5%... On the remaining balance

Deposits Required by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Includes:

  • Real Estate: Executions and Order of Sale $600.00
  • Real Estate: Attachment $200.00
  • Personal Property: Executions and Order of Sale $400.00
  • * Includes all serving of Writ, posting notices of sale, publication, recordings, certificates of sale. Fees will be billed or reimbursed for any difference.

Prisoner Handling Fees

Cases involving person booked in jail on Civil Bench Warrants require special fees be paid to house the prisoner in addition to the routine process and mileage fees, (17-22-10, UCA). The housing fees are calculated on the current cost to house a prisoner for three days.

This must be paid with a bank draft or cashiers check made payable to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, no personal checks or money orders are accepted. It must be separate from the fees charged for processing, so it can be delivered with the prisoner to the jail.

Jail housing fees are subject to costs. Contact the Civil Unit 385.468.9758 to calculate current fee.

Fees for transporting a patient to the Utah State Hospital or to and from a hospital or mental health facility, when the cost of transportation is payable by private individuals, the Sheriff may collect the actual and necessary cost of required assistance per Utah State Statute 17-22-2.5 (6).

Constables are paid by a citizen or an attorney to serve the processes they have. The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office has no legal authority to serve or be present at the time of service of their orders. Deputies may stabilize the situation if a breech of peace has occurred involving a constable. The case should be handled as any “keep the peace” call.

Property disputes, like the repossession of a vehicle and a disagreement over a contract, is a civil matter. Law Enforcement will only maintain order and keep the peace with incidents of this type.

Repossession or retaking of property without a Court Order:

A person attempting to repossess or take property, without a court order, will be advised if the owner refuses to surrender the property peaceably, to leave and secure the appropriate court order.

Repossession or retaking of property with a Court Order:

A person attempting to repossess or take back property, with a court order, should contact the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Civil Division office at 385-468-9758. The court order cannot be served until it is processed and the service fees are paid. This included, but is not limited to, orders such as: Writ of Replevin, Writ of Execution, Writ of Attachment, and/or Writ of Assistance.

Disputes over property may also be resolved in Small Claims Court.

More information about Small Claims can be found under Small Claims Court.

Disputes arising from a failed agreement or contract by two persons that do not meet the elements of criminal fraud, is usually a civil matter. Law Enforcement primary concern is to maintain order and keep the peace at any dispute resulting from a failed agreement. The disputing parties will be referred to their own attorney or to a Small Claims Court.

The District Court has established a small claims department who are designated to settle legal issues and problems arising from contractual, service disputes, or other claims which do not exceed the sum of $5,000.00. Small Claims courts allows an individual or business to be compensated by a party who has not performed according to an agreement or who had committed some wrongdoing. Small Claims are also handled in City and County Justice courts where the same rules apply.

The Utah State Courts website provides detailed information with frequently asked questions, small claims resources, and links to the appropriate forms needed to file a small claims case.

How to Obtain an Attorney

The District Court website has links to the Utah State Bar lawyer referral service.

Legal service of civil papers depends upon the type of process and is outlined in the Utah Rules of Civil Procedures. The most commonly served paper are described below:

Small Claims Order:

The order must be served 30 calendar days before the trial date. The state’s court website has additional information. See Small Claims Court for further information and links to the court website.

Ex Parte', Protective Orders, Stalking Injunctions

These orders can be served up to the time of the court hearing. Documentation of the service may not get back to the court prior to the hearing. Documentation should be listed on the Statewide warrants system.

See How to Serve for further information.

Eviction Notices

Including:

  • Three Day Alternative Notice
  • Three Day Nuisance Notice
  • Fifteen Day Notice
  • Notice to Comply or Quit
  • 3 Day Summons
  • Writ of Restitution

These processes are generally served upon preparation and/or receipt. The time constraints apply to the defendant responding to the order.

The State court website has additional information. See Landlord/Tenant issues link for further information

It is important to remember it takes approximately 10 working days to process a return of service and return it back to the court of record or the plaintiff, so they are aware of the service. If a plaintiff or court has not received proof of service at the time of the hearing, it can hinder the court hearing. Please allow four to five weeks for the service and the return of service to be made.

See: Procedures for Service of Papers for further information.

The repossession of a vehicle is a civil matter. Law Enforcement primary concern is to maintain order and keep the peace during this type of incident.

Repossession without a Court Order:

A person attempting to repossess a vehicle, without a court order, will be advised if the owner refuses to surrender the vehicle peaceably, to leave and secure the appropriate court order.

Repossession with a Court Order:

A person attempting to repossess a vehicle with a court order will be advised to contact the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Civil Division at 385-468-9758. The court order cannot be served until it is processed and the service fees are paid. This includes but is not limited to such orders as: Writ of Replevin, Writ of Execution, Writ of Attachment, and/or Writ of Assistance.

Landlord & Tenant Issues

These landlord/tenant issues can be more difficult due to the emotion involved. There usually is not an issue of nonpayment of rent, but a disagreement on rules, courtesies, or life style. There may also be a safety issue for other members of the family also living at the residence.

Eviction:

The legality involved in evicting a tenant that is a relative is the same process to evict any tenant.

See Evictions for further information.

The Utah State online court assistant program gives detailed information that answers frequently asked questions and also has outlines and links to allow landlords to initiate an eviction or tenants to respond to an eviction. 

Safety Issues:

If the family member, acting as a landlord in this case, wants the relative, who is the tenant to be removed from the premises because of threats of violence and/or a fear of physical or mental abuse or harm, the landlord may be able to obtain an Ex Parte' Protective Order, giving law enforcement the authority to remove the tenant. Elements of the state statute will govern if this type of protective order is applicable.

See How to Obtain an Order for further information. The landlord/family member may also get information regarding a protective order on the Utah State online court assistance program. 

Juveniles:

Please note a juvenile cannot be evicted from their parents' home. This would be dealt with as an ungovernable situation and should involve services provided to deal with juveniles.

Salt Lake County Youth Services Center

Phone Number (801) 269-7500

Specialized Children and Youth Services of Valley Mental Health

Phone Number (801) 263-7100

Eviction is defined as: To put (a tenant) out by legal process; to force out: expel.

The Unified Police Department Manual outlines the role of an officer at a landlord/tenant dispute.

"The officer is ...limited to preventing a breach of the peace and referral of the parties to appropriate legal counsel. Officers will not take sides nor assist any party in any action such as serving notices or eviction orders. Landlords seeking service of papers will be referred to the Court Services Division.

The Utah State online court assistant program gives detailed information that answers frequently asked questions and also has outlines and links to allow landlords to initiate and eviction or tenants to respond to an eviction. 

Basic Eviction Information:

  1. Eviction Notice: This notice can be purchased at almost any business supply or stationery store. The notice can be served by anyone on behalf of the landlord and may be posted on the door.
  2. Three day Summons & Complaint:This paper is issued by the District Court. It gives the defendant three (3) days to answer the complaint to the court. This paper must be served by someone not a party to the action.
  3. Writ of Restitution: This paper is issued by the District Court. It is the final step of the eviction process. This process requires fees to be paid prior to service and must be served by an officer or constable. The paper gives the officer or the constable the authority to forcefully move the defendant out and return the premises back to the plaintiff (owner), who usually changes the locks. If, at that time, the tenants are still present, the landlord may request that an officer from the civil unit assist in the removal of the tenants. If an officer assists in the removal of the tenants, a notice of eviction is placed on the property alerting the defendant that entry is a criminal offense and could bring charges of trespassing against them.

Other Resources:

1. Utah Apartment Association.

This association has legal packets and some forms that are instructional and will assist in how to proceed with evictions. Used more by landlords. There is a fee for the legal packets. They may require membership.

2. Housing Outreach Program at the Community Action Program

This program assists in finding information about a landlord or an apartment. Used more by tenants. They do give options regarding renters rights and responsibilities, making repairs with rent, landlord questions and fair housing. They also have booklets available such as "The Utah Renters Handbook" and "The Fit Premises Ordinances."

Utah Apartment Association

Phone Number (801) 487-5619

Fax: (801) 484-8649

Mailing Address 448 East 6400 South, Ste 460
Salt Lake City, Utah 84107

Hours 8:30am to 5:30pm

Housing Outreach Program at the Community Action Program

Phone Number (801) 359-2444

Mailing Address 64 South 200 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

This question will be raised by a landlord who has gone through the legal process to have a tenant evicted. The civil process has been completed and the tenant has been removed from the premises and locked out by order of the court. This has been facilitated by an officer from the Civil Process Unit of the Civil Division or a constable. Once the tenant has been removed, if they reenter the premises without permission of the landlord they are committing criminal trespass. Action to enforce the trespassing laws should be taken.

Utah Code Annotated

A person is guilty of criminal trespass if he enters or remains unlawfully on property, defined as a dwelling, and intends to cause annoyance or injury to any person or damage to any property. A violation is a class B misdemeanor. 76-60206 (2)(a)(3)(a).

A person is guilty of criminal trespass if knowingly his entry or presence is unlawful, he enters or remains on property as to which notice against entering is given by personal communication to the actor by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner; or notice is given by posting of signs reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders. A violation is an infraction. 76-6-206 (2)(b)(3)(b).

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office Procedure

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office will place a notice on the premises if they have executed the court order that clearly notifies the tenant of the intent to remove them from the premises if they do not vacate by the allotted time issued by the court. If the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office assists in the removal of the tenants, we will also post a notice on the premises clearly advising the tenant they cannot re-enter without the permission of the landlord. If they do re-enter without permission, they will be subject to criminal trespassing charges.

The landlord should call the local police jurisdiction to report any such trespassing violation by an evicted tenant.

The Civil Division of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office can be contacted to verify if an eviction has been executed within Salt Lake County by the Civil Process Officers. The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office does not have records of any constables' office who may have executed any lock outs.

Civil Division

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Phone Number (385) 468-9758

Fax: (385) 468-9736

Mailing Address 3365 South 900 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119

Ex Parte and Protective Orders

Orders issued in domestic violence cases, allowed for by the Co-habitant Abuse Act (Title 30, Chapter 6, UCA). These are orders allowing for the restraining and/or removal of a respondent (suspect) from the area(s) occupied and frequented by the plaintiff (complainant) and other related persons deemed at risk by the court.

Ex Parte' protective orders are issued without notice to the defendant (respondent). Protective orders are issued after a court hearing determines th necessity of extending the order issued in the Ex Parte'.

Ex Parte' and Protective Orders must be served by a law enforcement officer or the issuing court. ANY Law Enforcement Officer can and is required by statute (30-6-4.2(8)(b)(i)) to serve an Ex Parte' and/or Protective Order issued under the Co-habitant Abuse Act.

Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunctions

Orders issued in STALKING cases, as defined in Section 76-5-106.5 (UCA). These are orders allowing for the restraining of the respondent (suspect) from the area(s) occupied and frequented by the plaintiff (complainant) and other related persons deemed at risk by the court. The order may also enjoin the respondent from committing stalking.

Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunctions are issued without notice to the defendant (respondent). The respondent may request a hearing after being served.

Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunctions must be served by a law enforcement officer. ANY Law Enforcement Officer can serve an Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction within 90 days of date of issue.

Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunctions will be in effect as soon as service is made. The Injunction is not entered onto the statewide warrant system until the Injunction and the Original Return of Service is returned to the issuing court.

Things You Will Need:

  1. The police agency and the case number of the report on the domestic violence case. (You may get an order without them, but the information helps.)
  2. The name and birth date of the person you are getting the order against.
  3. The social security number of the person is also helpful.
  4. The addresses you want the person to stay away from.
  5. The description of the person and all of the places where they might be located. (This is very important, it will help the officers locate the suspect to serve the order on. Include: Work addresses, phone numbers and times of work. Other family members' addresses and phone numbers. Friends' addresses and phone numbers.)
  6. The kind of car the person is driving, with a license number if possible.

Places You Can Obtain an Order:

  • Matheson Court House
  • West Jordan Court House

The Matheson office, to obtain the orders, is located on the main floor (Room # W17) of the courthouse. Remember these courthouses are secured facilities and you will have to clear a security check point prior to entering.

At the Matheson Courthouse, paid public parking is available by entering the underground parking lot from 400 South. There is very limited street parking around the courthouse. TRAX does have a stop at the courthouse on the Main Street side.

There will be people to answer your questions and help you obtain your order at both courthouses. It does take a few hours to get the paper work completed. Going in the morning is advised, but the offices are also available in the afternoon.

Office hours coincide with courthouse hours.
Monday-Friday, excluding holidays, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Matheson Courthouse

Phone Number (801) 238-7300

West Jordan Courthouse

Mailing Address 8080 So. Redwood Rd.
West Jordan, Utah 84088

  1. Check the packet also called an Alternative Service Packet or Emergency Packet. The plaintiff (petitioner) will also have this packet. It should contain the:
    1. EX PARTE' PROTECTIVE ORDER
    2. VERIFIED PETITION
    3. RETURN OF SERVICE
    4. If these documents are not with the packet, the officer may not be able to make a Valid Service. The Ex Parte' is the most critical, since it contains the court date for the hearing. The verified petition gives the information regarding the claims of the plaintiff that has been reviewed by a judge. The return is a form indicating service. A duplicate of a blank return can be obtained to document service.
  2. Check the order and determine what the court is directing. It will likely include the requirements to:
    1. Serve the respondent which notifies them of the court date and informs them of the restrictions and penalties.
    2. Remove the respondent from a protected area (a residence or work place)
    3. Remove the children from the respondent and place them with the petitioner.
  3. Proceed with the service. Sign the copies of the orders being given to the respondent. It will be the Ex Parte' Protective Order and the Verified Petition.
  4. Complete the Return of Service. Fill in the blanks. (The county where service is made, the officers name, what papers were served, the date received and the date served, and the address where the order was served.) Sign the return with your name, agency and title and include the date.
  5. Notify the Dispatch Office of the service. The dispatcher will need the name of the respondent and the time and place of service. Dispatch will enter the service on the State Wide Warrants System immediately.
  6. Immediately FAX a copy of the return of service to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, Civil Division, 385.468.9736.
  7. Send the Original Return (interoffice mail) to Civil Division.

How to serve an Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction

  1. Check the packet (Alternative Service Packet or Emergency Packet) the plaintiff (petitioner) has. It should contain the:
    1. EX PARTE' CIVIL STALKING INJUNCTION
    2. VERIFIED PETITION
    3. RETURN OF SERVICE
    4. If these items are not with the packet, the officer may not be able to make a Valid Service.
  2. Check the Injunction and determine the date of issue. Service must be made within 90 days of issuance.
  3. Sign and Date the Ex Parte' and the Verified Petition being given to the respondent.
  4. Tell the respondent the order is an "Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction" and serve it on them. Offering the Injunction to the respondent, even if refused, is considered a legal service. (Leave the Injunction.)
  5. If the Injunction does not have the respondent's name, but the petitioner has identified them to the officer, get the name of the respondent. It is needed to complete the return of service. "A person guilty of interference with a public servant if he knowingly...interferes with the lawful service of process by a public servant." 76-8-301 (1)(b) UCA, a Class B misdemeanor.
  6. Complete the Return of Service. Fill in the blanks. (The county where service is made, the officers name, what papers were served, the date received and the date served, and the address where the order was served.) Sign the return with your name, agency and title and include the date.
  7. Fill out the respondent identifying information at the bottom of the Return if applicable.
  8. Immediately FAX a copy of the return of service to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, Civil Division, 385.468.9736. 
  9. Send the Original Return (interoffice mail) to Civil Division.

Civil Division

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Phone Number (385) 468-9758

Fax: (385) 468-9736

Mailing Address 3365 South 900 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119

Ex Parte' Protective Orders:

  1. Check the statewide warrant system for the respondent's (suspect's) name.
  2. The name will be on the system (with PO) next to it.
  3. The information on the computer should give some details of the provisions of the order. It could have various entries, so look at all the pages.
  4. If an Ex Parte' has been issued and served, that information will be available, usually under the comments section.
  5. The dates will indicate if the order is valid. The Ex Parte' expires after the hearing date, if the court DOES NOT issue a PROTECTIVE ORDER.
  6. An Ex Parte' may have been served and the date indicates expired, but the court has issued a PROTECTIVE ORDER. Check the comments to determine if a PROTECTIVE ORDER has been issued as a result of the Ex Parte' hearing.
  7. If the PROTECTIVE ORDER has been issued and NOT SERVED, the Ex Parte' is STILL IN EFFECT, regardless of the expiration day. (30-6-4.3 (1)(c), UCA)
  8. Arrest the suspect for a violation of an ex parte' protective order, if the elements are present. The provisions of the ex parte' are listed. Violations of the provisions (usually the first 7) are a Class A Misdemeanor, 76-5-108 UCA.
  9. If the suspect has left and an arrest does not occur, prepare a report with all the facts of the violation, including evidence and witnesses. Prepare a fact sheet and send it to the follow up detectives. They will review the report and get it to the District Attorney.
  10. If the suspect has left and an arrest does not occur, and the elements are not clear, or follow up work is needed, prepare a report and forward it to the detectives and advise the plaintiff of that.

Protective Orders:

  1. Check the statewide warrants system for the respondent's (suspect's) name.
  2. The name will be on the system (with PO) next to it.
  3. Obtain the information on the computer. It could have various entries.
  4. If a Protective Order has been issued and served, that information will be available, usually under the comments section.
  5. If the PROTECTIVE ORDER has been issued and NOT SERVED, the Ex Parte', served previously is extended and is STILL IN EFFECT.
  6. Arrest the suspect for a violation of the protective order, if the elements are present. The provisions of the protective order are listed. Violations of the provisions (usually the first 10) are a Class A Misdemeanor, 76-5-108, UCA.
  7. If the suspect has left and an arrest does not occur, prepare a report with all the facts of the violation, including evidence and witnesses. Prepare a fact sheet and send it to the follow up detectives. They will review the report and get it to the District Attorney.
  8. If the suspect has left and an arrest does not occur, and the elements are not clear, or follow up up work is needed, prepare a report and forward it to the detectives and advise the plaintiff of that.

Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction & Permanent Civil Stalking Injunction:

  1. Check the statewide warrants system for the respondent's (suspect's) name.
  2. The name will be on the system (with PO) next to it.
  3. Obtain the information on the computer. It will identify the order as a CIVIL STALKING INJUNCTION. It could also have various entries.
  4. If an Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction has been issued and served, that information will be available, usually under the comments section.
  5. A Permanent Criminal Stalking Injunction shall be issued automatically if the respondent (suspect) does not request a hearing within 10 days following the service of the Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction. It remains valid for THREE YEARS after the service of the service of the Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction.
  6. If a hearing is requested, the court may modify, revoke, or continue the injunction. If the Injunction is issued, that information will be available on the statewide system. It is also valid for THREE YEARS after the service of the Ex Parte' Civil Stalking Injunction.
  7. Arrest the suspect for a violation of an Ex Parte' or permanent Civil Stalking Injunction, if the elements are present. The provisions of the injunction are listed. (Usually forbidding the suspect to stalk the victim, ordering the suspect to stay away from protected address and making any contact with the victim.) Violations of the injunction are a Class A Misdemeanor, 76-5-106.5(3) UCA. Penalties can be enhanced.
  8. If the suspect has left and an arrest does not occur, prepare a report with all the facts of the violation, including evidence and witnesses. Prepare a fact sheet and send it to the follow up detectives. They will review the report and get it to the District Attorney.
  9. If the suspect has left and an arrest does not occur, and the elements are not clear, or follow up work is needed, prepare a report and forward it to the detectives and advise the plaintiff of that.

Domestic Disputes

Child custody issues resulting from a divorce decree or a custody order are usually civil orders of the court and cannot be enforced by law enforcement officers without specific orders allowing for that. Those further orders will usually be writs of assistance issued by the court. These orders must be executed by the Civil Division of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. This is a paid process and can only be done by those deputies.

Frequently asked questions are outlined on the State's web site, including questions regarding child custody and visitations.

The Civil Division of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office does serve custody orders and agreements and summons for court hearings involving custody disputes.

Custodial Interference 76-5-303, UCA

  1. A person, whether a parent or other, is guilty of custodial interference if, without good cause, the actor takes, entices, conceals, or detains a child under the age of 16 from its parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian:
    1. knowingly the actor has no legal right to do so; and
    2. with intent to hold the child for a period substantially longer than the parent-time or custody period previously awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  2. A person, whether a parent or other, is guilty of custodial interference if, having actual physical custody of a child under the age of 16 pursuant to a judicial award of any court of competent jurisdiction which grants another person parent-time, visitation, or custody rights, and without good cause the actor conceals or detains the child with intent to deprive the other person of lawful parent-time, visitation, or custody rights.
  3. Custodial interference is a class A misdemeanor unless the child is removed and taken from one state to another, in which case it is a felony of the third degree.

Custodial interference can become a criminal matter, when the elements so apply. Examine the elements closely before affecting an on scene arrest. If there are questions if the elements are sufficient, document all the information, including the court orders, and refer the case to a follow up detective and/or the district attorney's office.

Divorce Decrees are civil orders of the court and cannot be enforced by law enforcement officers. Frequently asked questions are outlined on the State's web site.

For questions regarding:

  • How to enforce a divorce decree
  • Property settlements and divisions
  • Child custody and visitations
  • See the Utah Courts guide How to Divorce 

The Civil Division of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Offices does serve divorce papers and summons for court hearings involving divorces. This is a paid process and can only be done by those officers. Constables can also serve these kinds of processes.

Definitions:

A restraining order issued pursuant to Title 30, Chapter 6, Co-habitant Abuse Act (UCA) subsequent to a hearing on the petition, of which the petitioner has given notice in accordance with Title 30, Chapter 6, Co-habitant Abuse Act (UCA).

The Co-habitant Abuse Act allows for the use of Protective Orders in domestic violence cases. These Protective Orders also include Ex Parte' protective orders, in which the order is issued without notice to the defendant. It also includes foreign protective orders, in which the order is issued by another state or territory, or possession of the United States, tribal lands of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. These foreign protective orders shall be given full faith and credit in Utah, if the order is similar to on issued in Utah. These orders must also be in compliance with Title 30, Chapter 6, Co-habitant Abuse Act (UCA).

Spouse Abuse is a common term used to refer to domestic violence. It is sometimes used meaning the spouse abuse order, which is referring to the protective or ex parte' protective order. (This is not a legal term, but frequently used by citizens.)

Answers to frequently asked questions about protective orders are available. Utah law also provides for Protective Orders that may be issued in civil cases involving the mentally challenged, children, the elderly, and/or other persons unable to care for themselves. Protective orders are issued to prevent abuse or neglect and/or to appoint and direct conservators to insure the preservation of physical, mental, and financial well being.

78-3a-305, UCA Ê | Ê 62A-3-304, UCA Ê | Ê 62A-11-503

Restraining Orders are commonly confused with Protective Orders. Restraining Orders are civil orders that cannot be enforced by law enforcement without further court orders.

Spouse Abuse is a common term used to refer to domestic violence. It is sometimes used meaning the spouse abuse order, which is referring to the protective or ex parte' protective order. (This is not a legal term, but frequently used by citizens.)

See Ex Parte', Protective Orders, Stalking Injunctions

Utah law also provides for Protective Orders that may be issued in civil cases involving the mentally challenged, children, the elderly, and/or other persons unable to care for themselves. Protective orders are issued to prevent abuse or neglect and/or to appoint and direct conservators to insure the preservation of physical, mental, and financial well being.

78-3a-305, UCA Ê | Ê 62A-3-304, UCA Ê | Ê 62A-11-503

Restraining Orders are commonly confused with Protective Orders. Restraining Orders are civil orders that cannot be enforced by law enforcement without further court orders.

Restraining orders are not enforceable by a law enforcement officer, unless it is specified clearly in the statute. The court is the only authority that may determine if a violation of a civil order has occurred. If the court finds the civil order has been violated, it must issue a separate order to law enforcement to take a specific action regarding the violation. These orders are usually directed to the sheriff for enforcement and/or execution.

A restraining order or a preliminary injunction may be issued by the court with or without notice to the adverse party. The motion petitioning such an order must be prepared by an attorney and granted by the court. Further explanation and information regarding restraining orders are outlined in the Utah Rules of Civil Procedures, Rule 65a.

The Civil Division of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Offices does serve the restraining orders and preliminary injunctions issued by the court, after the papers are processed and the fees are paid. They also serve any orders issued by the court, subsequent to the court finding a violation of the previously issued orders. These orders are also processed and fees are collected before service.

Protected Addresses:

If the home or the apartment is an address listed on an Ex Parte' or Protective Order as one the respondent (suspect or defendant) has been ordered to vacate or not to contact the plaintiff (complainant or victim) by the order is given the residence. This is usually temporary until the Ex Parte' or protective order expires, or another court order vacates it.

See Ex Parte', Protective Orders for further information

Divorce or Separation:

Without domestic violence or disturbances involved in the disputed residence, the division of the property, including the residence, is a civil situation. This will require the complainant to request a settlement from a civil judge or commissioner.

The state court assistance web page gives answers to questions frequently asked such as:

  • How is Property Divided?
  • Who Pays the Debts Incurred During the Marriage?
  • Where are Additional Resources located to assist?

Roommates and Non-Domestic Relationships:

When the dispute between individuals is not linked in a domestic or family relationship the division or the residence or living quarters becomes a landlord/tenant situation. This will probably require some sort of eviction process, even if their name is not on the lease.

See Landlord/Tenant Issues for more information.

The state court assistance web site answers most of the frequently asked questions regarding these types of disputes. It also offers directions on the eviction process for both the landlord and the tenant.

Child Custody

Child custody disputes are a complicated and time-consuming issue for law enforcement and can be emotionally trying and frustrating for parents and custodians. The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office would like to provide some tips and answers to frequently asked questions regarding this subject to help citizens navigate the system as they are faced with custodial conflicts.

The difficulty facing law enforcement related to custody disputes is based on the "gray area" between a violation of a civil order and a potential violation of criminal law. In other words, when a parent denies another parent access to their children for an amount of time, when will the prosecuting authority for the jurisdiction file criminal charges?

There is not a simple answer to this question and the ultimate decision would have to be made by the prosecuting entity of the jurisdiction where the alleged violation occurred and would have to be made based on all the facts of the individual case.

See state code concerning custodial interference

Custody disputes are often very complex and many times numerous court orders are issued, with each order changing or adjusting the previous one. The ultimate decision regarding the filing of criminal charges rests with the prosecuting entity of the jurisdiction where the violation occurred.

Information

The Unified Police Department would like to offer the following suggestions to citizens involved in custody disputes as a guide to assist them as they try to resolve this difficult issue:

  • Maintain official copies of all court orders regarding custody, visitation, and special circumstances.
  • Keep contemporaneous notes to document violations of standing court orders for use in subsequent hearings.
  • Resolution through civil court proceedings is preferred and all attempts to gain compliance through this remedy should be exhausted.
  • Law enforcement intervention should be utilized to investigate blatant violations or to intervene when facts indicate the children's welfare is in jeopardy.

If you believe your children are in immediate danger, please contact your local law enforcement agency to check their welfare.

Utah State Code addresses this situation in the following section and identifies the elements of the crime of Custodial Interference as follows:

76-5-303. Custodial interference.

  1. A person, whether a parent or other, is guilty of custodial interference if, without good cause, the actor takes, entices, conceals, or detains a child under the age of 16 from its parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian:
    1. knowing the actor has no legal right to do so; and
    2. with intent to hold the child for a period substantially longer than the parent-time or custody period previously awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  2. A person, whether a parent or other, is guilty of custodial interference if, having actual physical custody of a child under the age of 16 pursuant to a judicial award of any court of competent jurisdiction which grants to another person parent-time, visitation, or custody rights, and without good cause the actor conceals or detains the child with intent to deprive the other person of lawful parent-time, visitation, or custody rights.
  3. Custodial interference is a class A misdemeanor unless the child is removed and taken from one state to another, in which case it is a felony of the third degree.

Amended by Chapter 255, 2001 General Session

As this law reads in Section (1)(b), it is a violation to intentionally "hold the child for a period substantially longer than the parent-time or custody period". This allows for an interpretation of the definition of "substantially longer" and would have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A violation of Section (2) addresses when the parent or guardian has actual physical custody and does not allow the other parent to have visitation or parent-time. This section also requires interpretation by a prosecutor to determine if the parent with actual physical custody "without good cause...conceals or detains the child with intent to deprive".

Child visitations are orders granted under the direction of the court. It is a Civil Action, and is not enforced by law enforcement. A person may request the documentation of a conflict or disagreement regarding the visitation orders. This report should reflect the officer's observations.

Any forced visitations must be ordered by the court and enforced by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office Civil Process Deputies. This requires a fee to be paid.

See Writ of Assistance for further details.

Further information regarding visitation requirements and child support. There is also a Co-Parenting mediation program available to assist parents.

Who serves the writ?

A writ will very rarely be served or executed by any police officer. Writs are almost always served by an officer. It is also very rare for a deputy assigned outside the Civil Division of the Sheriff's Office to execute or serve a writ.

What is a Writ of Assistance?

Writ by definition is an order or precept in writing, issued in the name of the state or of a court or judicial officer.

Writ of Assistance is an order generally not following any specific format, but will usually direct the sheriff to assist the plaintiff in resolving some issue which has been previously addressed in another court order but which has been disregarded by the defendant.

The Writ of Assistance is most commonly issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take custody of a child. The statute defines Writ of Assistance as the authority to do so. (78-45c-102 (17), UCA)

It is sometimes referred to as a Writ to take Physical Custody of a Child. This order will outline the facts of the case involving the child and direct the officers of what the court wants done. It is determined by the court's analysis of just how profound the risk is of the child suffering serious imminent physical harm or removal from this state. (78-45c-311 (1), UCA)

The writ should include the facts of the danger to the child, direction for law enforcement to take physical custody of the child immediately, and provide for the placement of the child, once removed. The respondent must be immediately served with the writ, once the child has been taken. (78-45c-311 (4), UCA)

The Writ of Assistance to take physical custody of a child is enforceable throughout the State of Utah. (78-45c-311 (5), UCA)

A Writ of Assistance may not be specified as a writ for the removal of children. These are vague, and usually issued to assist the plaintiff in resolving some previously addressed court order.

A fee is required to serve a Writ of Assistance. This must be done by the Civil Process Deputies of the Sheriff's Office. Refer the complainant requesting service of the writ to the Civil Division of the Sheriff's Office.

Civil Division

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Phone Number (385) 468-9758

Fax: (385) 468-9736

Mailing Address 3365 South 900 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119