En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Maryland

UPDATED April 19, 2017

Moving to Another State with a Protective Order

Print this page
View by Section

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

General rules

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

Yes.  If you have a valid Maryland 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 protective orders granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the U.S., including U.S. territories. See How do I know if my protective order is good under federal law? to find out if your order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state orders in the same way it enforces its own orders.  If the abuser violates your out-of-state protective order, 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."

Did you find this information helpful?

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

A protective 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.
    • 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)

Did you find this information helpful?

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 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.

Did you find this information helpful?

Getting your protective order enforced in another state

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

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protection 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 protection 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 PO 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)

Did you find this information helpful?

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

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order, which you may want to keep with you at all times.  A certified copy shows 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 or seal on it.  In Maryland, a certified order is called a “true test” copy and has a stamp on it. 

If the copy you originally received is not a certified copy, you can go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk's office for a certified copy. There may be a fee to get a certified (true test) copy of your protective order, but you can ask the clerk to be sure.

Did you find this information helpful?

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 if you want to get help on deciding whether or not to register your order.  To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page. 

Did you find this information helpful?

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

You are not required to tell the court in Maryland if you move - however, if your order contains a visitation or custody provision, remember that you may need the judge's permission to move out of state.  For advice on whether you need to return to court to get this permission before moving, you may want to talk to a lawyer in Maryland before leaving the state.  Go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.  In addition, some people choose to give the court a current address so that they can be notified of any legal actions that may be filed regarding the protective order.  If you do notify the court, be sure to clarify with the clerk that your new address must be kept confidential if that is the case.

Did you find this information helpful?

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

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

Maybe.  It might depend on the terms of the custody provision in your protective order, whether or not the abuser was granted visitation/custody rights, etc.  You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving.  For legal advice on your particular situation, go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page.  To read more about custody laws in Maryland, go to our MD 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. 

Did you find this information helpful?

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

Yes.  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.

* See 18 USC § 2266(5)(b)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top