Can I get my restraining order from Connecticut enforced in another state?
If you have a valid Connecticut restraining 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 restraining 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 restraining order is good under federal law? to find out if your restraining order qualifies.
Each state must enforce out-of-state restraining orders in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if the abuser violates your out-of-state restraining 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.”
Do I need anything special to get my restraining order enforced?
In most states, you will need a certified copy of your restraining 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.
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. Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
Can I get someone to help me through this process? Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to get your restraining 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 restraining 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 page.