How do I get my protection 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 PO 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)
Do I need anything special to get my protective order enforced in another state?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order, which you may want to keep with you at all times. A certified copy shows 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 or seal on it. In Maryland, a certified order is called a “true test” copy and has a stamp on it.
If the copy you originally received is not a certified copy, you can go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. There may be a fee to get a certified (true test) copy of your protective order, but you can ask the clerk to be sure.
Note: It is generally a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may also want to 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. You may want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser. You may also want to 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 protective 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 if you want to get help on deciding whether or not to register your order. To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.
Do I need to tell the court in Maryland if I move?
You are not required to tell the court in Maryland if you move - however, if your order contains a visitation or custody provision, remember that you may need the judge’s permission to move out of state. For advice on whether you need to return to court to get this permission before moving, you may want to talk to a lawyer in Maryland before leaving the state. Go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals. In addition, some people choose to give the court a current address so that they can be notified of any legal actions that may be filed regarding the protective order. If you do notify the court, be sure to clarify with the clerk that your new address must be kept confidential if that is the case.