How do I get my order of protection enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order of protection 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 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 may be a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. You may 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 want to also give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need a special copy of my order of protection to get it enforced?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your 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 Missouri, a certified order has a stamped seal on it. The copy you originally received from court may not be a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, you can call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. Go to our MO Courthouse Locations page for contact information.
Do I need a lawyer to enforce my order of protection?
You do not need a lawyer to get your order of protection 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 may be able to let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your 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, the Places that Help page and then choose your new state from the drop-down menu and click “Enter.”
Do I need to tell the court in Missouri if I move?
You might want to, if you won’t be getting mail at your old address. The court that gave you your order of protection may need to have an up-to-date address for you in case, let’s say, the abuser asks the court to dismiss or modify the order. Also, if your order will automatically renew, and the abuser wants to object, then the court would need your address to send you the notice of the hearing date. If you provide your new address to the court, you may want to make sure they will keep it confidential if the abuser doesn’t know where you are living. It should 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 Missouri or your new state. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you may want to use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. box instead.