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Legal Information: Idaho

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 7, 2023

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge in your state may not have legal power (personal jurisdiction) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the judge may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

However, there are a few ways that a judge can get personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, to see extended family, or for business, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you but s/he has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

Even if none of the above apply to your situation, you may still be able to get an order. If you file, the abuser may agree to an order “on consent” or the judge may decide there are other reasons to grant the order.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to give you an order, you can file in the courthouse in the abuser’s state. However, you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates. This could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.