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Know the Laws: Maryland

UPDATED April 19, 2017

Enforcing Your Out-of-State Order in Maryland

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If you are planning to move to Maryland or are going to be in Maryland for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Maryland

back to topCan I get my protective order enforced in Maryland? What are the requirements?

Yes.  Your protective order can be enforced in Maryland as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

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back to topCan I have my out-of-state protective order changed, extended, or canceled in Maryland?

No. Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Maryland.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued.  You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone (if that is an option) rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living.  To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders section for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in Maryland, you may possibly be able to get a new one issued in Maryland but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Maryland. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Maryland, visit our MD Domestic Violence Protective Orders page.

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back to topWhat can I do if I am notified that my Maryland order has changed or is no longer valid?

You will have to contact the court that issued your order to find out why your order has changed or is no longer valid.  The police in Maryland cannot enforce an order that has expired or has been canceled in the issuing state.

If this does happen, you may want to contact a lawyer or domestic violence organization in your area.  They may be able to answer some of your questions, or help you fill out the necessary court forms to petition for a new order in Maryland.  You will find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations in Maryland on the MD Where to Find Help page.

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back to topI was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protective order. Will this be enforced in Maryland?

Federal law, which applies to all states, considers custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a protective order to be enforceable across state lines under the theory of "full faith and credit."  Law enforcement and courts in another state are generally required by federal law to enforce these provisions* assuming they comply with certain federal laws, specifically the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

Note: Maryland law states that an order for protection does not include a support or child custody order** so to be certain that your custody provision from your out-of-state order will be enforced in Maryland, contact a lawyer familiar with custody and restraining orders.  To find a lawyer in your area, go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page.

* See 18 USC § 2266(5)(b)
** MD Code, Family Law, § 4-508.1(a)(2)

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Registering your Out-of-State Order in Maryland

back to topWhat is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database that contains protective orders, that is used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico.  It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Maryland, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC.  If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC if you register your order in Maryland.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

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back to topHow do I register my protective order in Maryland?

Although registering an order is not required for the order to be enforced, the Maryland courts website has a form available for registering a foreign protection order here.  For advice on whether or not to register the order, you may want to talk to an attorney.  Go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page for referrals. 

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back to topDo I have to register my protective order in Maryland in order to get it enforced?

No.  Maryland state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as it has been filed with the local court or as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order that appears to be valid.*  Maryland does not have a registration process in place, so your order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Maryland police officer.**  It is important to know, however, that the protections that are allowed under Maryland state law are the ones that will be enforced.***  For more information, you may want to get advice from an attorney who is familiar with foreign protection orders.  You can find legal referrals on our MD Finding a Lawyer page.

* MD Code, Family Law § 4-508.1(b),(c)
** MD Code, Family Law § 4-508.1(c)
*** MD Code, Family Law § 4-508.1(b)

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my protective order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our MD State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

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back to topDoes it cost anything to register my protective order?

Under federal law, which applies to all states, U.S. states and territories that receive certain federal funding cannot charge you a fee to register, obtain or serve a protection order that is related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.*  All 50 states, U.S. territories, and some tribes receive this funding.  If you believe you are wrongly being charged a fee, you can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit at 800-903-0111, ext. 2 for assistance.

* 42 USC §3796hh(c)(4); see also MD ST § 7-202(II)(G)(2)

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