How do I get my protective order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protection order 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 protection order 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 Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.
Note: It is important to keep a copy of your protection order 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.
Do I need a special copy of my protective order to it enforced?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protective order. 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 Iowa, a certified order has a stamp and a raised seal on it.
The copy you originally received was most likely not a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk's office for a certified copy. It costs on average $10 to get a certified copy of an IA protective order.
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, select your state from the drop-down menu on the top left-hand corner of this page, and click on the "Links and Resources" page.
Do I need to tell the court in Iowa if I move?
You might want to if you won't be getting mail at your old address. The court that gave you your protective order needs to have an up-to-date address for you at all times because they will communicate with you only by mail if anything happens to your protective order - for example, ifther abuser asks the court to dismiss the order to change it in any way. If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, you must provide the court with a new address where you can receive mail. The Iowa law says that a change of address should be reported to the court within five days after the old address is no longer valid.1
If you provide your new address to the court, you can ask that it be kept confidential. It will be kept in a confidential part of your file, and the public will not have access to it. However, your new address could possibly be released to court officials in your new state or law enforcement officials in either Iowa or your new state. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you can use the address of a friend you trust, a safe house, or a P.O. Box instead.2
1 IA ST § 236.10(2)
2 IA ST § 236.10(1)