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Legal Information: Maryland

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 27, 2023

Can I get my protective order enforced in Maryland? What are the requirements?

Your protective order can be enforced in Maryland 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)

Can I have my out-of-state protective order changed, extended, or canceled in Maryland?

Generally, only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You likely cannot have this done by a court in Maryland.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued.  You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone or electronic means rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living.  To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders section for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in Maryland, you may possibly be able to get a new one issued in Maryland but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Maryland. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Maryland, visit our MD Domestic Violence Protective Orders page.

What can I do if I am notified that my Maryland order has changed or is no longer valid?

You will have to contact the court that issued your order to find out why your order has changed or is no longer valid.  The police in Maryland cannot enforce an order that has expired or has been canceled in the issuing state.

If this does happen, you may want to contact a lawyer or domestic violence organization in your area.  They may be able to answer some of your questions, or help you fill out the necessary court forms to petition for a new order in Maryland.  You will find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations in Maryland on the MD Places that Help page.

I was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protective order. Will this be enforced in Maryland?

Federal law, which applies to all states, considers custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a protective order to be enforceable across state lines under the theory of “full faith and credit.”  Law enforcement and courts in another state are generally required by federal law to enforce these provisions1 assuming they comply with certain federal laws, specifically the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

Note: Maryland law states that an order for protection does not include a support or child custody order2 so to be certain that your custody provision from your out-of-state order will be enforced in Maryland, contact a lawyer familiar with custody and restraining orders.  To find a lawyer in your area, go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page.

1 See 18 USC § 2266(5)(b)
2 MD Code, Family Law, § 4-508.1(a)(2)