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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

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April 5, 2024

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in D.C.?

It’s possible that you may be able to change, extend, or cancel your order in a D.C. court. Once you register your out-of-state order in D.C., the court will provide you with a registered order.1 The judge may allow you to petition to change, extend, or cancel the registered (out-of-state) order as if it were issued in that state.

However, it’s also possible that the judge may find that s/he does not have jurisdiction (power) over your whole order or over certain issues included in your order, such as custody, and may require that you file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. If you have to file in the state where the order was issued, you may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued. You may also wish to speak with an attorney in D.C. to find out if you can file to modify your out-of-state order in D.C.

If your order does expire while you are living in Washington, D.C., you may be able to get a new one issued in D.C., but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Washington, D.C. To find out more information on how to get a protection order in Washington, D.C., visit our Civil Protection Orders page.

1 D.C. Code § 16-1044(c)