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Legal Information: Delaware

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
April 5, 2019

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Delware, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in DE.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my out-of-state protection order in Delaware?

To register a protection order that was issued in another state, a U.S. territory, or in Canada, bring a certified copy of your order and a letter requesting the order be registered to your local Family Court. You may be asked to file an affidavit that says that to the best of your knowledge, the order has not expired. There is no fee for registration.1 To find you local Family Court, see our DE Courthouse Locations page.

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Delaware for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our DE Advocates and Shelters page located on the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

1 10 Del. Code §§ 1049D; 1049K

Do I have to register my out-of-state protection order in Delaware in order to get it enforced?

You do not have to register a protection order that was issued in another state, a U.S. territory, or in Canada in order for it to be enforced.

Delaware courts can enforce an out-of-state protection order as long as:

  • the order contains the your name and the abuser’s name;
  • it appears to be currently valid (not expired);
  • the court that granted the order had the proper authority (jurisdiction) to issue it; and
  • 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.1

Delaware law enforcement can enforce an out-of-state protection order as long as there is good reason (“probable cause”) to believe that:

  • the protection order is a valid, current order; and
  • the order has been violated.2

The order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Delaware law enforcement officer.2

1 10 Del. Code §§ 1049B(d)-(f); 1049J(c)​
2 10 Del. Code §§ 1049C; ​1049I

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our DE Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced,1 if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a Delaware law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real. Meaning, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Delaware. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in DE, please visit our DE Advocates and Shelters page located on the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

1 10 Del. Code §§ 1049D; 1049K

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

There is no fee for registering your protection order from another state, a U.S. territory, or from Canada in Delaware.1

1 10 Del. Code §§ 1046(b), (g); 1049K(g)