How 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 protective order 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 protective order with you at all times. It is also important to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting, so you can make a good decision about how to get your order enforced and whether or not you should register it in that state.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need anything special to get my protective order enforced in a new state?
In most places, you will need a certified copy of your protective order. A certified copy says it is a “true and correct” copy, is signed or initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask for a certified copy.
If you have already re-located to a different state and do not have a certified copy, you can ask for help from a court clerk, advocate, or attorney in the new state to get a certified copy from the court that gave you the order.
If you are moving to a new state, it may be helpful to take phone numbers for the court clerk in the state that issued the order and the number of the nearest domestic violence program in the new state.
Some states maintain computerized registries of protective orders in their state. If the state that gave you the protective order has a registry, try to get the phone number of the registry manager, or the number of the local or state law enforcement agency that has your order on file.
Can 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. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your protective 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 you are moving to go to the Places that Help tab at the top of this page and see Advocates and Shelters and Finding a Lawyer.
I have a temporary ex parte order. Can it be enforced in another state?
Possibly, 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.