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Know the Laws: Florida

UPDATED April 12, 2017

Moving with an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence

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If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your Florida injunction for protection against domestic violence can still be enforceable.

General rules

back to topCan I get my Florida injunction for protection enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Florida injunction for protection against domestic violence 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 protection orders (called “injunction for protection against domestic violence” in Florida) granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See the question below to find out if your injunction qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state orders, in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if the abuser violates your out-of-state injunction, 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."

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back to topHow do I know if my injunction (protection order) is good under federal law?

An injunction (protection order) is good anywhere in the United States 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. It doesn’t matter if he actually showed up in court; just that he had the opportunity to do so.
    • 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 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 U.S.C. § 2266(5)(A)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

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

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 injunction (protection 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.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

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Getting your injunction for protection enforced in another state

back to topHow do I get my Florida injunction for protection enforced in another state? 

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your injunction for protection 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 injunction from abuse (order of protection) 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.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

 

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back to topDo I need a special copy of my protection order to get it enforced?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your injunction. A certified copy says that it is a "true and correct" copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. A certified injunction from Florida has the word “Certified” stamped on the front page.

If the copy you originally received was not a certified copy, you can go to the courthouse where you were granted the injunction and request a certified copy from the clerk.

Note
: It is generally a good idea to keep a copy of the injunction with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the injunction with you when you move. Leave copies of the injunction at your work place, at your home, at the children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser. Give a copy of the injunction to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

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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 protection 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 protection 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, select your state from the drop-down menu on the top left-hand corner of this page, and click on the "State and Local Programs" page.

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back to topDo I need to tell the court in Florida if I move?

Yes. The court needs to have an address they can reach you at if anything happens in your case.  For example, if the abuser asks the court to dismiss the protective order, the court needs your address to let you know this is happening.

Your new address should be kept confidential by the court.  You can fill out form 12.980h: Petitioner's Request for Confidential Filing of Address.  The clerk of court’s office should have this form available for you to fill out. It is also available on the Florida Courts website here.

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Enforcing custody (parenting plan) provisions in another state

back to topI was granted temporary custody (sole responsibility) with my protection order. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe. It may depend on the exact wording of the custody (parenting plan) provision in your injunction. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights (time-sharing) 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 (time-sharing) schedule. If you intend to move more than 50 miles away (and the abuser doesn’t agree to this), you would need to file a petition to relocate and prove to the court that relocating is in the best interest of your child.* For more information, see My child lives with me and the other parent will not agree to let us move to another state. Can I change the parenting plan?  To read more about custody laws in Florida, go to our FL 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 (parenting plan) laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the FL area on our FL Where to Find Help page.

* F.S.A. § 61.13001

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back to topI was granted temporary custody (sole responsibility) with my protection order.  Will another state enforce this custody (parenting plan) order?

Yes. Custody (sole responsibility in a parenting plan), visitation (time-sharing), and child support provisions that are included in an injunction can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.*  The custody and visitation portion of your injunction is not enforceable, however, if a more recent custody/visitation order has been entered since your injunction was issued.


* 18 USC § 2266

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