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.