Look, I know rules of civil procedure aren’t sexy.

In fact, they’re down right boring.

Heck, most people (including many lawyers) don’t know they exist.

What they do is tell Utah divorce lawyers how a case should proceed. That’s about it.

But here’s the thing: the rules of civil procedure are seriously important.

If your attorney doesn’t know the rules or doesn’t follow them, you’ll probably lose your divorce case.

It’s that simple.

This is why we read and study these rules all the time.

And when a new one comes out, we’re on it, because the more we’re on it, the more of our clients’ cases we’re going to win.

And that brings us to new Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 109.

Rule 109 puts forth some rules everyone needs to live by the moment a divorce starts.

These rules have the force of a court order, so you don’t want to violate them, otherwise the court may impose fines or worse.

Some of the more important rules are:

1. You can’t conceal or get rid of marital money or property without written consent of your spouse.

2. You can’t harassment or intimidate your spouse.

3. You can’t shut off your spouse’s phone or utilities.

4. You can’t take your spouse or kids off your health insurance.

5. You can’t take your child out of state and try to live somewhere else.

This is all pretty basic stuff, but you’d be surprised how often people in divorce do these things to each other. Hence the need for a rule saying, “Look, don’t do this stuff.”

Personally, I think this is a good rule. I’m looking forward to sharing it with our clients when it comes in to effect on May 1, 2019.

If you would like to read the Rule in its entirety, here it is.

Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 109

Rule 109. Injunction in certain domestic relations cases. Effective May 1, 2019.

(a) Actions in which a domestic injunction enters. Unless the court orders otherwise, in an action for divorce, annulment, temporary separation, custody, parent time, support, or paternity, the court will enter an injunction when the initial petition is filed. Only the injunction’s applicable provisions will govern the parties to the action.

(b) General provisions.

(b)(1) If the action concerns the division of property then neither party may transfer, encumber, conceal, or dispose of any property of either party without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or to provide for the necessities of life.

(b)(2) Neither party may, through electronic or other means, disturb the peace of, harass, or intimidate the other party.

(b)(3) Neither party may commit domestic violence or abuse against the other party or a child.

(b)(4) Neither party may use the other party’s name, likeness, image, or identification to obtain credit, open an account for service, or obtain a service.

(b)(5) Neither party may cancel or interfere with telephone, utility, or other services used by the other party.

(b)(6) Neither party may cancel, modify, terminate, change the beneficiary, or allow to lapse for voluntary nonpayment of premiums, any policy of health insurance, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, automobile insurance, or life insurance without the written consent of the other party or pursuant to further order of the court.

(c) Provisions regarding a minor child. The following provisions apply when a minor child is a subject of the petition.

(c)(1) Neither party may engage in non-routine travel with the child without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court unless the following information has been provided to the other party:

(c)(1)(A) an itinerary of travel dates and destinations;(c)(1)(B) how to contact the child or traveling party; and(c)(1)(C) the name and telephone number of an available third person who will know the child’s location.(c)(2) Neither party may do the following in the presence or hearing of the child:

(c)(2)(A) demean or disparage the other party;

(c)(2)(B) attempt to influence a child’s preference regarding custody or parent time; or

(c)(2)(C) say or do anything that would tend to diminish the love and affection of the child for the other party, or involve the child in the issues of the petition.

(c)(3) Neither party may make parent time arrangements through the child.

(c)(4) When the child is under the party’s care, the party has a duty to use best efforts to prevent third parties from doing what the parties are prohibited from doing under this order or the party must remove the child from those third parties.

(d) When the injunction is binding. The injunction is binding

(d)(1) on the petitioner upon filing the initial petition; and

(d)(2) on the respondent after filing of the initial petition and upon receipt of a copy of the injunction as entered by the court.

(e) When the injunction terminates. The injunction remains in effect until the final decree is entered, the petition is dismissed, the parties otherwise agree in a writing signed by all parties, or further order of the court.

(f) Modifying or dissolving the injunction. A party may move to modify or dissolve the injunction.

(f)(1) Prior to a responsive pleading being filed, the court shall determine a motion to modify or dissolve the injunction as expeditiously as possible. The moving party must serve the nonmoving party at least 48 hours before a hearing.

(f)(2) After a responsive pleading is filed, a motion to modify or to dissolve the injunction is governed by Rule 7 or Rule 101, as applicable.

(g) Separate conflicting order. Any separate order governing the parties or their minor children will control over conflicting provisions of this injunction.

(h) Applicability. This rule applies to all parties other than the Office of Recovery Services.

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