Can I get my out-of-state protection order enforced in Delaware? What are the requirements?
If you have a protection order that was issued in another state or U.S. territory, it can be enforced in Delaware as long as it meets all of these requirements:
- It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
- The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the power or authority to hear the case.)
- The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
- In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2
If you have an order of protection that was issued in Canada, it can be enforced in Delaware as long as it orders the abuser to do one or more of the following:
- stay away from you or a certain place (for example, your home, work, etc.)
- not follow you
- not .contact you, either directly or indirectly
- not bother (molest), annoy, or harass you
- not participate in threatening conduct directed at you.3
Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)
3 10 Del. Code §§ 1049H(1); 1049I; 1049J
Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Delaware?
Generally, only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order.
To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court 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. Find out if this is possible in your state by calling the clerk of the court that issued your order. 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.
If your order does expire while you are living in Delaware, you may be able to get a new one issued in Delaware but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Delaware. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Delaware, visit our Orders of Protection from Abuse page.
I was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in Delaware?
As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 Delaware can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.
To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit our DE Finding a Lawyer page.
1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.