How 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.1 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 Advocates and Shelters 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.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do 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.1
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.
1 IC § 34-26-5-16
Can 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 Places that Help page.
Do 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.1Note: 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.2
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.3
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.4 If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you may use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. box instead.
1 IC § 31-17-2.2-3
2 IC § 31-17-2.2-4
3 IC § 5-26.5-4-2
4 IC § 5-2-9-7