How do I get my order of protection from abuse order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order of protection from abuse 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 order of protection from abuse 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 DE Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.
Note: It is important to keep a copy of your order of protection from abuse with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need a special copy of my order of protection from abuse to get it enforced?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order of protection from abuse. 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 Delaware, a certified order has a stamp that says "Certified" and a seal.
The copy you originally received was most likely not a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, you should go to the Records department of the courthouse where your order of protection from abuse was granted. You must bring a photo ID. There is no fee if you are getting a certified copy. However, there may be a fee if a person, other than the victim, is trying to get the certified copy. (Note: Sometimes court clerks mistakenly charge a fee to victims, so make sure you are not accidently charged.)
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? Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to get your protection 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 protection 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, please visit our DE Places that Help tab on the top of this page and select the state you are moving to.
Do I need to tell the court in Delaware if I move?
The Delaware Court does not require you to notify them if you move, but you should go by and get a certified copy of your order before you move.