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Know the Laws: Alaska

UPDATED September 14, 2017

Moving to Another State with an Alaska Protective Order

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Your Alaska protective order can be enforceable wherever you move.

General rules

back to topCan I get my protective order from Alaska enforced in another state?

Yes.  If you have a valid AK protective order that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state.  The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid orders of protection granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories.*  See How do I know if my protective order is good under federal law? to find out if your protective order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state orders of protection in the same way it enforces its own orders.  Meaning, if your abuser violates your out-of-state order of protection, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated.  This is what is meant by "full faith and credit."*

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265

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back to topHow do I know if my protective order is good under federal law?

An protective order is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent, or threatening acts, or sexual violence against another person, or it is issued to forbid contact or communication with another person or it is issued to order the abuser to stay away from another person.*
  • 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 (orders issued with only one party present) 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 within a "reasonable time" after the order is issued.**

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 USC § 2266(5)(A)
** 18 USC § 2265(a) & (b)

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Getting your Alaska protective order enforced in another state

back to topDo I need anything special to get my protective order enforced in a new state?

In most places, you will need a certified copy of your protective order.  A certified copy says it is a "true and correct" copy, is signed or initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp.  If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask for a certified copy.

If you have already re-located to a different state and do not have a certified copy, you can ask for help from a court clerk, advocate, or attorney in the new state to get a certified copy from the court that gave you the order.

If you are moving to a new state, it may be helpful to take phone numbers for the court clerk in the state that issued the order and the number of the nearest domestic violence program in the new state.

Some states maintain computerized registries of protective orders in their state. If the state that gave you the protective order has a registry, try to get the phone number of the registry manager, or the number of the local or state law enforcement agency that has your order on file.

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back to topHow do I get my protective order enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protective order enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid protective order is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.* Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our State and Local Programs page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your protective order with you at all times. It is also important to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting, so you can make a good decision about how to get your order enforced and whether or not you should register it in that state.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

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back to topCan I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your protective order enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your protective order, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to go to the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page and see State and Local Programs and Finding a Lawyer.

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back to topI have a temporary ex parte order. Can it be enforced in another state?

Possibly, yes.  An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my protective order is good under federal law?

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires.  If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court).  However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

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Enforcing temporary custody provisions in another state

back to topI was granted temporary custody with my protective order. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe.  It may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your protective order.  You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving.  If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

To read more about custody laws in Alaska, go to our AK Custody page.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children.  You can find contact information lawyers on our AK Finding a Lawyer page.

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back to topI was granted temporary custody with my protective order. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes.  Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a protective order can be enforced across state lines.  Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.*  However, even if your custody order is enforceable in another state, you may need to seek a judge's permission before trying to leave.  See I was granted temporary custody with my protective order. Can I take my kids out of the state?

* 18 USC § 2266

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WomensLaw.org would like to thank the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault for its assistance with this section.

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