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Know the Laws: Indiana

UPDATED May 24, 2016

Moving to Another State with an Indiana Order for Protection

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If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your order for protection can still be enforceable.

General rules

back to topCan I get my order for protection from Indiana enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Indiana order for protection that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law, states that all valid protection orders 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 protection order is good under federal law? to find out if your order for protection qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state orders for protections in the same way it enforces its own orders. This means that if the abuser violates your out-of-state order for protection, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated just as s/he would be if s/he violated an order of protection issued by the state you are in. 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 order for protection is good under federal law?

An order for protection 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.
    • 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 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 order for protection 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 Indiana order for protection enforced in another state

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

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order 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 order for 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.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your order for protection with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

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back to topDo I need anything special to get my order for protection enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order for protection.  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.  In Indiana, a certified order has the court’s seal and the clerk’s signature on it.

The copies you originally received may not have been certified copies. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk's office for a certified copy. There should be no fee to get a certified copy of an IN order for protection.*

Note: It is generally a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move.  You may want to leave copies of the order at your workplace, 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 order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

* IC § 34-26-5-16

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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 order for protection 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 order for protection, 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, please visit our Where to Find Help page.

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

If your order for protection involves parenting time and custody provisions, or if you have an outstanding or pending custody or parenting time case, the law requires that you give notice to the other parent (and to any other individual who has parenting time, such as grandparents) before you relocate. The notice must be given at least 90 days before the move. This notice must be made by registered or certified mail and provide detail about the move including new location, phone numbers, reasons for move and proposed new parenting time schedule.*  Note: If the court finds that including your new address and phone number in the notice would create “a significant risk of substantial harm” to you or the child, the judge can order that you don’t have to include it.**

If you are a participant in the Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program, you must give the office of the Attorney General written notice about your change of address at least 7 days before it occurs.***

If you provide your new address to the court, they are supposed to keep it confidential.  Under IN state law, any information regarding a protected person is kept in a confidential part of that person’s file, and the public does not have access to it.  However, your new address and other contact information might be released to court officials in your new state or to law enforcement officials in either Indiana or your new state.****  If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you may use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. box instead.

* IC § 31-17-2.2-3
** IC § 31-17-2.2-4
*** IC § 5-26.5-4-2
**** IC § 5-2-9-7

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Enforcing custody provisions in another state

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

Yes.  Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in an order for protection can be enforced across state lines.  Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.*

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266

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

Maybe.  It may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your order for protection.  You may have to first seek the permission from a judge before leaving.  If the abuser was granted visitation/custody 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.

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 for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in at our Where to Find Help page.

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