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Legal Information: Montana

Montana Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

A restraining order is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another. In Montana, there are orders of protection for domestic violence victims and for crime victims. To find help in your state, please click on the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.

Orders of Protection (for domestic violence victims)

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Montana?

For the purposes of getting an order of protection, domestic violence is defined as:

  1. when you are reasonably afraid of bodily injury from a partner or family member; or
  2. when a partner or family member commits one of the following crimes against you:

In addition to victims of domestic violence, you can file for an order of protection against anyone who commits one of the following crimes against you, regardless of your relationship to the offender:

Note: In addition, a parent or guardian can seek an order on behalf of a child under age 16 against an adult who has no legal supervision/control over the child if the parent believes that contact between them is not in the child’s best interests (even if there is no domestic violence or crime committed).3 For more information, see Can a minor get an order of protection?

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-102(1)​
2 Mont. Code § 40-15-102(2)​
3 Mont. Code § 45-5-622(4)

What protections can I get in an order of protection?

A temporary or final order of protection can order the abuser to:

  • Stop threatening to commit or committing acts of violence against you or other family members;
  • Stop harassing, annoying, disturbing the peace of, contacting or otherwise communicating, directly or indirectly, with you or other family members (or any witness to the abuse);
  • Not remove your child from the state (jurisdiction of the court);
  • Leave and stay 1,500 feet (or another distance) away from you, your home, your school, work, or another specific place;
  • Be excluded (removed) from your home (regardless of who owns the home);
  • Not transfer, hide, or get rid of any property (except as would normally be done in the “usual course of business”);
  • Give you possession and use of the home, a car, and other essential property (no matter who owns any of these things) and order law enforcement to accompany you to the home to get these items;
  • Order the abuser to complete violence counseling (including drug counseling or treatment, if necessary);
  • Be prohibited from possessing or using a firearm (if one was used in an assault against you); and/or
  • any other relief that is necessary to provide for the safety and welfare of you or your family members.1

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

1 Mont. Code §§ 40-15-201(2); 40-15-204(3)

What types of orders of protection are there? How long do they last?

In Montana, there are two types of orders of protection:

A temporary order of protection is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection. A judge can issue it if you allege, and the judge believes, that you will be in danger of harm if the court does not issue a temporary order of protection immediately. It is effective for up to 20 days.1 The abuser does not get prior notice that you are requesting a temporary order of protection from the court. However, the abuser will be served with a copy of the order after it is granted. This copy will generally also include a notice of court hearing for a more permanent order, as described below. Note: If you meet the requirements for an order of protection, the length of time between the abusive incident and your application for an order of protection is irrelevant.2

A final order of protection can be granted only after a full court hearing where the abuser has an opportunity to appear and tell his/her side of the story. Generally this hearing will take place approximately 20 days after the temporary order is issued. However, the abuser may request an emergency hearing before the end of the 20-day period by filing an affidavit that demonstrates that s/he has an urgent need for the emergency hearing. An emergency hearing must then be set within 3 working days of the filing of this affidavit.3 A final order of protection (which is sometimes called a “permanent order of protection”) can last for a specific period of time or remain in effect permanently.4

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-201(1),(2), (4)
2 Mont. Code § 40-15-102(6)
3 Mont. Code § 40-15-202(2)
4 Mont. Code § 40-15-204

In which county can I file for an order of protection?

You can file a petition in the county where you live, in the county where the abuser lives, or in the county where the abuse took place.  There is no minimum length of residency required to file a petition.1  To figure out which type of court to file in, please see our Steps for obtaining an order of protection section.

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-301(4)

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 may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have 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, for business, to see extended family, 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 s/he but 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.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

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

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

Who can get an order of protection

Who is eligible for an order of protection?

Domestic violence victims who have been the victim of certain crimes (listed here) can file for an order of protection against the partner or family member who abused them. “Partner” refers to spouses, former spouses, people who have a child in common, and people who have been or are currently in a dating or ongoing intimate relationship with a person of the opposite sex. “Family member” refers to mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, and other past or present family members of a household whether these relationships are biological, or through adoption or remarriage.1

In addition, a parent / guardian can seek an order on behalf of a child under age 16 against an adult who has no legal supervision/control over the child solely because the parent believes that contact between them is not in the child’s best interests (even if there is no domestic violence or crime committed).2 For more information, see Can a minor get an order of protection?

Also, anyone who was the victim of one of the following crimes against them, regardless of their relationship to the offender, can file for an order of protection:

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-102(1)
2 Mont. Code § 45-5-622(4)
3 Mont. Code § 40-15-102(2)

Can I get an order of protection against a same-sex partner?

In Motana, you may apply for an order of protection against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who is eligible for an order of protection?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Montana?

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

Can a minor get an order of protection?

If you are a minor (under 18), a parent, guardian ad litem or other representative may file for an order of protection on your behalf.1  In addition, a parent or guardian of a child who is under age 16 can verbally or in writing request that a person who is 18 or older and who has no legal right of supervision or control over the child stop contacting the child if s/he believes that the contact is not in the child’s best interests.  If the adult continues to contact the child, the parent, guardian, or other person supervising the welfare of the child may file a petition for an order of protection on behalf of the child.  The parent/guardian also has the option of asking the county attorney to petition for the order of protection instead.  There does not have to be any domestic violence or other crime committed.2

An order of protection is effective against the abuser regardless of the abuser’s age.3

1 Mont. Code §§ 41-1-101, 40-15-102(3)
2 Mont. Code § 45-5-622(4)
3 Mont. Code § 40-15-102(4)

How much does it cost to get an order of protection?

It does not cost anything to get or serve an order of protection.1

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-204(8)

Do I need an attorney to get an order of protection?

You do not need an attorney to get an order of protection but it is generally helpful to have an attorney who is knowledgeable about domestic violence with you in court if you can. If the abuser has an attorney, it is especially important to also try to get legal representation.

In many places, local domestic violence or sexual assault programs can help you file for an order of protection but an advocate cannot represent you at a hearing, only an attorney can. You will find a list of agencies that might be able to provide an advocate at our MT Advocates and Shelters page. You will find contact information for courthouses at our MT Courthouse Locations page.

Free legal assistance is sometimes available in Montana for low-income people who petition for orders of protection. For help in finding free legal assistance in your area, please visit our MT Finding a Lawyer page.

Steps for obtaining an order of protection

Step 1: Go to the courthouse to file your petition.

Orders of protection may be filed in justice court, city court, municipal court, or district courts in the county in which you live or to which you have fled to escape abuse.  However, if there is a pending divorce or custody case or the respondent lives in another state, you may only be able to file in district court.  However, if there is a divorce or custody action pending in district court you may request an order of protection in justice, city, or municipal court if the judge handling your divorce or custody case is unavailable, or you left the county where the abuse occurred in order to escape the abuse.  In such cases, you must provide a copy of the relevant district court documents to the court when the petition is filed.1

You can find the court in your area by going to our MT Courthouse Locations page.  Tell the clerk of civil court that you want to file for an order of protection. Forms may also be obtained from many domestic violence agencies and many agencies have people available to help you through this process.  Please see MT Advocates and Shelters to find an agency near you.

1 See, for example, Cascade County’s order of protection petition / instructions

Step 2: Carefully fill out the forms.

Read the instructions and the petition carefully and ask questions to the clerk or to an advocate who may be helping you fill out the papers if you don’t understand something. You will be the “petitioner” and the abuser is the “respondent.”

Follow the instructions provided in the petition to describe your circumstances to the court. In the space provided, describe in detail how the abuser (respondent) injured or threatened you. Explain when and where the abuse or threats occurred. Write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Be specific.
Include details and dates, if you can.

Some courts will provide an instruction form for you to fill out that advises law enforcement how to find the abuser to serve him/her with an order of protection. If you are provided such a form, fill it out as completely as possible.

Do not sign the application until you have shown it to a clerk. The form must be signed in front of a notary public or a judge. There are notaries and judges at the courthouse. .

Step 3: A judge will review your petition.

After you finish filling out your petition, and have signed it in front of a notary or judge, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition.

If the judge decides that you are in immediate danger of harm, s/he will issue a temporary order of protection that will include a notice of hearing that sets a date for a court hearing to determine whether or not a final order of protection should be granted. You will be given a copy of the temporary order of protection and notice of hearing.

Step 4: Service of process

The respondent must be served with the temporary order of protection so that s/he knows s/he is prohibited from certain activities and so s/he knows about the hearing and has an opportunity to tell his/her side of the story.  Usually the court will send copies of the temporary order to law enforcement for service, but in some areas you may have to bring the papers to law enforcement yourself.  You can ask the court clerk for more information about serving the abuser.  For a list of Sheriff Departments in your area, go to our MT Sheriff Departments page.

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

Step 5: The hearing

A hearing will be generally be held within 20 days from the date you file your petition.1 At the hearing, a judge will decide whether or not to issue a final order of protection, which may be permanent or for a specified amount of time.

The abuser may request an emergency hearing before the end of the 20-day period by filing an affidavit stating that s/he has an urgent need for the emergency hearing. An emergency hearing is like a regular hearing, but it’s scheduled for an earlier date. An emergency hearing must be set within 3 working days of the filing of the affidavit.2 You will be notified if an emergency hearing is scheduled.

You must go to the hearing, whether it is an emergency hearing or the scheduled hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order of protection will expire and you will have to start the process over. Also, if you do not show up at the hearing, it may be more difficult for you to obtain an order in the future.

At the court hearing, the judge will evaluate any evidence, testimony and witnesses presented by each party and decide whether or not to issue the final order.

If the abuser shows up to the hearing with a lawyer, you may be able to ask the court for a “continuance,” which means a later court date. You can ask for this extra time so that you can try to find a lawyer to help you. If the abuser does not show up at the hearing, the judge may grant you a final order of protection, or the judge may order a new hearing date.

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-201
2 Mont. Code § 40-15-202(2)

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Montana have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some possible ideas of things you may want to do when preparing to leave the courthouse.  Not all will apply to everyone.  Please consider which ones you think may help you.  

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a picture of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in, and protected by, the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, you may want to take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.

Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order.  People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school.  Many batterers obey orders of protection, but some do not.  It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  For more information please visit the Safety Tips page.  Advocates at local domestic violence programs can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.  To find help near you, visit our MT Advocates and Shelters page.

I was denied an order of protection. What can I do?

If you are not granted an order of protection, there are still some things you can do to stay safe.  It is a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence victim agencies in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe.  They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need.  To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit our MT Advocates and Shelters page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Safety Tips page.

You may also be able to reapply for an order of protection if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

If you believe that the abuser has violated the order of protection, you can call 911. If the police arrive and believe the abuser has violated the order, the abuser can be arrested. It can be against the law to violate any order of protection (temporary or permanent). When the police arrive, it may be a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge numbers in case you want to follow up on your case. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified in the future.

What happens if I move?

Federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have an order of protection, it follows you wherever you go in the United States, including U.S. territories and tribal lands.

Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state orders.  In some states, it may make it easier to enforce an order that is registered in the new state.  You can find out about your new state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your new area.  To read more about moving out of Montana with an order of protection, please visit our Moving to Another State with a Montana Order of Protection page.

Orders of Protection (for crime victims)

Under Montana law, anyone who was the victim of one of the following crimes can file for an order of protection, regardless of the relationship to the offender:

For additional information, see the Orders of Protection (for victims of domestic violence) section. The orders of protection described in that section are the same orders of protection that would be filed by any of the above-listed crime victims.

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-102(2)

Moving to Another State with a Montana Order of Protection

If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your order of protection can still be enforceable.

General Rules

Can I get my order of protection from Montana enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Montana order of protection that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid orders of protections granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. Each state must enforce out-of-state orders of protection in the same way it enforces its own orders, which means that if someone violates an out-of-state order of protection, 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.”

How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law?

An order of protection is good anywhere in the United States 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)

I have a temporary ex parte order of protection.  Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes. An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?1

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

Getting Your Montana Order of Protection Enforced in Another State

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 of protection 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 order of protection 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 a special copy of my order of protection to it enforced?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order of protection. 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 Montana, a certified order of protection has a certified seal on it.

Most orders of protection in Montana are certified, but if your copy is not or if you are unsure, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy.

Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. 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. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work. 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 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 can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your order of protection, 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 pleae visit the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and chose the state to which are you moving.

Do I need to tell the court in Montana if I move?

You may not required to tell the court when you move, unless the judge adds a specific requirement to do so in your order of protection. However, it may be a good idea to give the court an updated address if you won’t be getting mail at your old address, in case there are any legal papers filed from the abuser regarding your order of protection. If you are afraid to provide your new address to the court, you can request that your address is kept confidential or you may also consider using the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. box instead.

Enforcing Custody Provision in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my order of protection. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe.  It may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your order of protection. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving.  If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children.  You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the MT area on our MT Places that Help page.

I was granted temporary custody with my order of protection.  Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a order of protection can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1

1 18 USC 2266

Enforcing an Out-of-State Order in Montana

If you are planning to move to Montana or are going to be in Montana for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General Rules

Can I get my protection order enforced in Montana? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your out-of-state protection order can be enforced in Montana 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 protection order changed, extended, or canceled in MT?

No. Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Montana.

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 rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where your abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders pages for the state where your order was issued.

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

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in MT?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 MT can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area, click here MT Finding a Lawyer.

1 The federal laws are 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.

Registering your out-of-state order in Montana

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Montana, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order will be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in MT.All law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC database, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my out-of-state protection order in Montana?

You can either bring a certified copy of your order directly to the Department of Justice or you can bring a certified copy to a courthouse or to any local law enforcement agency and ask them to register the order with the department of justice for you. In addition, you will need to file an affidavit (a sworn statement) stating that, to the best of your knowledge, the order is currently in effect.

Please note that if your order is inaccurate or if it has expired, it will be removed from Montana’s registry. After your order has been registered in Montana, the Department of Justice will provide you with a certified copy of the registered order. The order will also be entered into the National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC).1 See the next question for more information about the NCIC.

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Montana for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our MT Advocates and Shelters page.

1 MCA § 40-15-405

Do I have to register my protection order in Montana in order to get it enforced?

No. Montana state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order even if it is not registered, as long as the officer can determine that the order is real and that it has not expired yet. The order must identify both you and the abuser and appear to be currently in effect.

While it may be helpful to show the officer a certified copy of the order, a certified copy is not required for enforcement. If you do not have any copy of the order with you, the officer may consider other information when deciding whether or not there is a valid protection order in place. It is important to know that without a copy of the protection order, the officer may decide that s/he cannot enforce your order.1

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-404

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our MT Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protective order in Montana.