Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

View all
Updated: 
October 24, 2018

Can I get my abuse prevention order from Massachusetts enforced in another state?

If you have a valid Massachusetts abuse prevention order that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law, states that all valid restraining orders granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See How do I know if my abuse prevention order is good under federal law? to find out if your order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state restraining orders in the same way it enforces its own orders, which means that if the abuser violates your out-of-state order, 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.”