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Know the Laws: Oklahoma

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Moving to Another State with a Protective Order

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

General rules

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

Yes. If you have a valid Oklahoma 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 US, including US territories.*  See How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law? to find out if your protective order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state protective orders in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, 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."* 

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a)

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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. 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)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

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Getting your protective order enforced in another state

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 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.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

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

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protection order.  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 Oklahoma, a certified order has a stamped seal on it as well as the signature of the court clerk.

The copy you originally received may not be a certified copy unless you specifically asked for one at the time your order was issued. 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 is no fee involved in obtaining a certified copy.

Note: It is 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. Leave copies of the order 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 order 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 to which you have moved. 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 to which you are moving, please click on the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page and then choose the state where you are going.

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back to topI have an emergency ex-parte protective 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 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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Enforcing custody provisions

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 Oklahoma, go to our 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 for local legal assistance in Oklahoma on our OK 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 as long as the protective order is good under federal law.*   See How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law? for more information.

* 18 U.S.C. §§ 2266(5)(b); 2265

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