If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your order for protection can still be enforceable.
Can I get my order for protection from HI enforced in another state?
Yes. If you have a valid Hawaii order for protection 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 orders of protection granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the U.S., including U.S. territories.1 See I have a temporary restraining order (TRO). Can it be enforced in another state? to find out if your order for protection qualifies.
Each state must enforce out-of-state orders for protection in the same way it enforces its own orders. In other words, if the abuser violates your out-of-state order for protection, 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.”
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265
How do I get my order for protection enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order for protection 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 for protection is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1 In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order for protection. 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. 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 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 for protection 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)
I have a temporary restraining order (TRO). Can it be enforced in another state?
Yes. A temporary restraining order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?
Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)
How do I know if my order for protection is good under federal law?
An order for protection is good anywhere in the United States as long as:
- 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 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
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)
I was granted temporary custody with my order for protection. Can I take my kids out of the state?
Maybe. It may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your order for protection. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed before you move, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.
If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the HI area on our HI Places that Help page.
I was granted temporary custody with my order for protection. Will another state enforce this custody order?
Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in an order for protection can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1 However, before leaving the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer to make sure that leaving the state would not violate any laws such as parental kidnapping (custodial interference) laws, or any laws that your state may have regarding not removing a child from the state during a court case.
1 18 USC § 2266
Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to get your order for protection 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 order for protection, 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, click the Places that Help tab and then choose the state from the drop-down menu.
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.