How do I get my order of protection enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order of 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 of 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 of 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 of protection enforced in another state?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order of 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 South Carolina, a certified order either has an original judge’s signature or a stamp and seal on it.
South Carolina is also a part of Project Passport, which means that the first page of your order of protection looks the same as orders in other Project Passport states. This means it may be easier to get your order of protection enforced in one these states, which include:
Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (located in Alabama) 1
The copies you originally received should have been certified copies either given to you or mailed to you.2 If your copies are not certified, go to the family court office and ask for a certified copy. There is no fee to get a certified copy of a South Carolina order of protection.
Note: It may be a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may 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. You may want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work and to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
1 Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Data Resource Center. “Projects.”
2 S.C. Code Ann. § 20-4-80
Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to get your order of 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 of 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, select your state from the drop-down menu on the top left-hand corner of this page, and click on the Places that Help page.