Rules of Civil Procedure – Comment Period Closed July 19, 2018

URCP0005. Service and filing of pleadings and other papers. Amend. Paragraph (b)(3)(B) is amended to remove the requirement that a person must agree to accept service by email in order to be served by email. If a person provides an email address pursuant to Rule 10(a)(3) or Rule 76, the person may be served Rule 5 papers at that address.

URCP0109. Automatic injunction in certain domestic relations cases. New. Provides that in certain domestic relations cases, an automatic injunction will enter upon the filing of the case. Its provisions address areas such as disposing of property, disturbing the peace of the other party, committing domestic violence, using the other party’s identification to obtain credit, interfering with telephone or utility service, modifying insurance, and behavior around the minor children. The injunction is binding on the petitioner upon filing the initial petition and on the respondent after the filing of the initial petition and upon receipt of a signed copy of the injunction.

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19 thoughts on “Rules of Civil Procedure – Comment Period Closed July 19, 2018
  1. Lane Wood

    I am extremely excited about proposed Rule 109. I think that this will save substantial time and cost in many divorce cases. I wish that Rule 109 would include a provision that expressly prohibits either party from relocating with the minor child(ren). Although this arguable constitutes “non-routine travel,” I would like to see this spelled out. The exceptions to non-routine travel are too easy to get around for this to be the only thing prohibiting a relocation with the minor child.

  2. daniel irvin

    I am not in agreement with an injunction being entered upon filing of a case as the other party may not know and then can and will be held in contempt for failing to comply with an order he had no knowledge of. We can dream that he will know or the court will be wise in the knowing part but that is only if it gets to trial or an evidentiary hearing. the injunction should enter upon either proof of service with a notice of the injuctions attached or an answer that has been filed, that way the non moving party is protected.

    1. Jeremy J.

      Agreed. I think such injunctions would be useful, however they should be entered only after service is complete under Rule 4. Moreover, I believe additional notice should be required akin to the notice of disclosure requirements under Rule 26.1. Otherwise, I fear such injunctions will be deployed as traps, especially when service can be delayed for up to 120 days following filing of the divorce complaint (Rule 4(b)).

  3. Eric K. Johnson

    These are both welcome changes to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.

    Rule 5 simply brings the rules into harmony with modernity, and this will cut down on wasted time and money.

    Rule 109 They will cut down on wastes of time and money on the part of the divorcing parties. This appears to be in part modeled after the California Family Codes “Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROS)”, so it’s not as though this is a weird or untested innovation.

  4. mark allen


    I have had a front row seat to some of the problems associated with high conflict cases. I truly believe that it is imperative to protect the victim, but also that sometimes, the victim is actually the one using the system to victimize others. To provide remedy to the true victim, simply require all “victims” of abuse to sign “Under Penalty of Perjury” what they are attesting to is true.

    The simple sentence “Under Penalty of Perjury I attest my testimony is true”, would provide recourse to those who become victimized by false allegations. In lieu of the perjury penalty, the perpetrator could then chose between mental health therapy or other agreed upon help.

    I have been falsely accused by two women who had agendas. It has cost me my life savings, and its likely I will never be able to afford a house or to help my children financially. Neither women have had any monetary consequence nor have they received any mental health interventions- and so – another generation of children have to deal with emotional, verbal, and abandonment abuses and I end up paying the bill. It’s really uphill and expensive to fight false allegations, which when proven false, the court does nothing to remedy those wronged. This could easily provide recourse for those who have become the real victim of false allegations. This protects the real victims and provides a mechanism to dissuade lies from permeating family law. This alone could help speed up the backlog of court cases.

    I would welcome the opportunity to shed more light on this, but truly a victim would be happy to sign a statement, and there is no penalty for those who speak truth. Family court is ripe with abuses of the system. This simple idea “Under Penalty of Perjury I attest this is true”, should be on police reports, should be on financial declarations, should be on any accusation levied against another individual.

  5. mark allen

    After having been through the system in a High Conflict Divorce, and in hindsight as I audit mentally what took place, I believe there is an opportunity at the head end of every divorce to do something simple which could decrease court involvement and backlogging 60-80%.

    The majority of High Conflict divorces are a result of mental health / personality disorders that have been undetected and untreated. The behaviors associated with this can be more readily made apparent to the court by simply designing with the assistance of a mental health practitioner- a template of “Temporary Orders”. In this template would be several orders that those with personality disorders would be likely to violate.

    In the first month or two of a divorce, these “Temporary Orders” create an atmosphere for the parties to comply or not comply. If either party fails to abide by the temporary orders, its likely due to a narcisstic or borderline or sociopath personality.

    In the family law system, the one who is most dysfunctional controls the costs and difficulty for the other party. Yet, if there were violated temporary orders, this would indicate to the Traditional Court that this case should be referred to a Mental Health Court, and / or, that the parties then submit to mental health screening.

    The majority of cases I have been made aware of in the past 10 years post my own divorce, there are red flags from the onset that the court has not been looking for. As a result the court system gets bogged down with those with mental illness. Families are made poor. Attorneys are not made problem solvers, rather end up with a lot of billable hours, and those who need help, don’t get it. The children end up suffering for decades since the family resources are consumed by the court system.

    Establishing Mental Health Courts for Family Law would clean out the Traditional system by 60-80%.
    Those with mental health problems could receive help. Family finances would end up benefiting children.

    One other component which would not be popular for bad attorneys would be fee caps. Supposing there was a fee cap of $5k for a divorce. The attorneys then become problem solvers so each opposing attorney works hard with their clients and the system to resolve issues.

    As it stands now, some attorneys stir the pot to increase billable hours. Its counterproductive and actually another form of abuse that families have to weather. The client with personality disorders can run bills up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and destroy and make victims of the innocent.

  6. Phil Casper

    What if ex-wife (custody case) uses my old email address, or a fake for that matter and I am unaware of court proceedings, dont show up, and a judgement is made in my absence? How much harder to make things right after a judgement has already been made. This is not a good law. Unless the courts have a up to date (within one year) email address given by the account holder and authorized to be used at a service address, then this law just cannot be.

  7. Steve Oliphant

    Do “the necessities of life” include attorney fees? see Rule 109(b)(1).

  8. Suzanne marelius

    I support the proposed Rule 109 and would like included that no parent can use a child’s image on social media blogs or promotions such as “Go Fund Me” accounts which directly links the child to the divorce conflict. I think Commissioner Patton has required this type of initial restraint in his Court for quite some time –its a good idea.

  9. James Mcintyre

    I support the concept, but I see a problem with implementation. Does this rule contemplate that each practitioner ,or pro se party, prepare an injunction in conformity with Rule 109 and send it to the court and serve it with the petition. Don’t know if anyone else sees a potential problem, but my experience with pro se litigants and even some lawyers is lack of clarity and an unclear injunction simply can’t be enforced. My proposal would be to have the committee draft a proposed form injunction to be used in every case and if we need more ask for it separately.

  10. Thomas Rossa

    Regarding RULE 5 Service by e mail without acknowledgment of receipt or authority to do so from the addressee leaves too much room for abuse by the sender. And it assumes too much. While in normal circumstances, the rule makes sense and should work well, the rule must recognize that there are unusual circumstances that will lead to difficulties and Rambo litigators that will look for ways to abuse the system and the recipient.

  11. J. Cannell

    I support what Rule 109 is trying to accomplish, but I am concerned that the automatic entry of an injunction without the exercise of any judicial discretion is more substantive than being merely procedural and should be mirrored by legislation that makes the specific actions being prevented independently unlawful. In addition, It would be helpful to employ some type of “clawback” provision that allows the return of assets to the marital estate so that an innocent spouse has some resources available despite a breaching spouse wrongfully dissipating or encumbering marital property. This could be similar to how the bankruptcy process allows for recovery of fraudulent conveyances. I again see the need for Rule 109, but if it is not backed up with the ability to recover/restore property then it will end up much like other hollow judgments when no other assets are available to equalize among the parties..

    1. Ronni B Adams

      I agree, this rule needs to have some teeth to support it, otherwise it won’t do much good.

  12. Ronni B Adams

    Please include something in this rule that states rent/house payments should be maintained as well.

  13. Nathan Whittaker

    Regarding Rule 5:

    Lines 39–40: Consider changing “pursuant to Rule 10(a)(3) or Rule 76” to “to the court”, as it is more straightforward and simple—any email address provided to the court will necessarily comply with those rules. See Kimble, Guiding Principles for Restyling the Civil Rules, at xv & xvii (available at (pages 11–21)) (stating stylistic preference for minimizing cross-references, especially those that are redundant or self-evident).
    Lines 39–40: If the committee prefers keeping the cross-references, consider changing “pursuant to” to “under”. See Garner, Guidelines for Drafting and Editing Court Rules, 4.6. Also, possibly consider changing “Rule 10(a)(3) or Rule 76″ to Rules 10(a)(3) or 76” as it is shorter.
    Lines 39–41: Possibly consider breaking into subparts like so:

    (b)(3)(B) emailing it to—
    (b)(3)(B)(i) the most recent email address provided by the person to the court; or
    (b)(3)(B)(ii) the email address on file with the Utah State Bar;

    The following are not relevant to the amendment, but I just saw them as I was reviewing it and thought I’d mention them:
    • The spelling of the word “email” is not consistent in the rules—it is “email” in rules 5, 7, and 58A, and “e-mail” in rule 76.
    • On line 28, the word “if” should probably have a colon after it. While some authorities state that a colon should only be used in setting off a list if the clause preceding it is an independent clause (otherwise, an em-dash or nothing at all should be used), this convention is not followed by the federal rules or elsewhere in the state rules (see, e.g., line 36).

  14. Al Black

    As for Rule 109, we should allow for rent and/or mortgage payments to not be disrupted until the parties have to time to have a hearing on it and knowing that financial abuse exists in up to 99% of all domestic violence cases.

    Also, we should not restrict people’s liberties to travel for safety reasons to their support systems and have the full faith and credit act for reasons to allow for this. There can be later hearings where custody orders can be ironed out and children need to be protected from domestic violence. It’s common that abusers purposely isolate their victims from their support systems and take them away from those supports. Research shows time and again how much domestic violence impacts children.

  15. Emily Nuvan

    Regarding Rule 109:

    I was asked by some of the committee members to suggest that this rule also include a provision that would address the use of technology and smart home features that can be used to harass or intimidate partners in domestic disputes and divorces. Here is a link to an article from the NY Times that details how the rise in popularity of these types of products is also leading to a rise in their use in domestic abuse incidents.

  16. Gregory B. Wall

    I receive anywhere from 50 to 100 emails per day. The last thing I need, and this reflects the opinion of everyone in our firm, is more emails. I am already annoyed that the court feels it okay to send out hearing notes by email instead of mailing them. Not all emails are able to be ready, or they get lost in another file, yet the court clerks send out important notices via email. Not acceptable. Is there some reason the court cannot use Judicial Link like everyone else? Now you want to add even more email to all of the junk that comes in. Again, not acceptable. Who came up with this idea? Just because such a thing as email exists doesn’t mean it is an acceptable or the most efficient means of sending notices, pleadings, etc. Just because it exists doesn’t mean it should be used for every purpopse you can conceive of. This is a bad idea.