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Know the Laws: Florida

UPDATED April 12, 2017

Enforcing your Out-Of-State Order in Florida

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

General rules for out-of-state orders in Florida

back to topCan I get my out-of-state protection order enforced in Florida? What about the custody provision in my protection order?

Yes. Your protection order can be enforced in Florida as long as it meets the requirements under federal law, explained in How do I know if my injunction (protection order) is good under federal law?

However, if you are trying to enforce a child custody, visitation or child support provision in an out-of-state protection order, this will not be enforced until the order is formally recorded (“domesticated”) in a Florida court,* which involves taking the order to a court and asking the clerk to file the injunction. There may be a filing fee for domestication. Once the injunction is filed, it is treated as though it was a Florida court decision.**  However, when you domesticate the order, the Florida court clerk will notify the abuser that the injunction has been filed.*** The abuser then has 30 days to contest (fight) Florida's jurisdiction over the injunction.****  You can file a petition to keep your address confidential from the abuser (form 980h “Petitioners Request for Confidential Filing of Address”), but the abuser would still receive the name and address of the courthouse and would know that you are in a particular county of Florida.  This could put your safety in danger.

For more information about what this means, how to domesticate the order and for other alternatives to domestication, please talk to a lawyer in FL who specializes in protection orders and custody matters. You can find a lawyer under the FL Finding a Lawyer page.

* Fla. Stat. § 741.315(4)(a)
** Fla. Stat. § 55.503
*** Fla. Stat. § 55.505
**** Fla. Stat. § 55.507

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

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 Florida.

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 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 page for the state where your order was issued.

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

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Registering your out-of-state order in Florida

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 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 Florida, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC.  If not, your order should be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in FL.  You may want to call your local sheriff department to find out if your order was entered.

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

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back to topHow do I register my protection order in Florida?

You can register your protection order by presenting two certified copies to any state sheriff and requesting that it be entered in the Florida injunction registry, which is a database available to all Florida law enforcement officers. You will likely have to sign an affidavit (a sworn statement) that to the best of your knowledge, that the protection order is currently in effect, has not been replaced by another order, and that the abuser has been given a copy of the order.*   The sheriff will assign a case number and give you a receipt showing registration of the foreign order in Florida. There will be no fee for registration of a foreign order.**  To find a sheriff department near you, go to FL Sheriff Departments.

If you need help registering your injunction, you can contact a local domestic violence center in Florida for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our FL State and Local Programs page.

* Fla. Stat. § 741.315(3)(a)
** Fla. Stat. § 741.315(3)(b)

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back to topDo I have to register my protection order in FL in order to get it enforced?

No. Florida state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as it meets the federal requirements, as explained in How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?  It does not have to be registered in Florida for a Florida police officer to enforce your order.

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my protection 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 FL State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

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

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in Florida.*

* Fla. Stat. § 741.315(3)(b)

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