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Legal Information: California

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
April 4, 2019

How do I get my DVRO enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your domestic violence retraining order (DVRO) 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 DVRO 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.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

Do I need anything special to get my DVRO enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your DVRO. 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 California, a certified order is stamped with a seal and endorsed by the court clerk.1

The 5 copies you originally received in court when you got your DVRO should have been certified copies. If you no longer have a certified copy, go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. Although you cannot be charged a fee when you initially received the 5 certified copies,1 it is possible that for additional certified copies there may be a charge.

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.

1 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6387

Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your DVRO 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 DVRO, 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 Places that Help tab on the top of this page and then click on Advocates and Shelters to find an advocate or click on Finding a Lawyer to find legal help.

Do I need to tell the court in California if I move?

It may be a good idea to contact the court if you are moving since the court that gave you your DVRO may need to have an up-to-date mailing address for you in case the abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or change it in any way. However, before giving your new address, if it is a confidential one, make sure that the court will keep it confidential from the abuser. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you may want to use the address of a trusted friend or a P.O. box instead.