How do I get my protective order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protection from abuse order (PFA) 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 PFA 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 NH Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need anything special to get my protective order enforced?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protective 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. A certified copy of a New Hampshire protective order will have a stamp with a raised seal.
When you first get your protective order, New Hampshire courts are supposed to give you a certified copy. But if you don’t have a certified copy, you can go to or call the court that gave you the order and ask for a certified copy. Some courts may require that you go in person and present ID, so you may want to make sure you have a certified copy before leaving New Hampshire if you can.
If your abuser violates the order & you don’t have a certified copy, the responding police officer can call the court to ask them to fax over a certified copy (this faxed copy can be treated as certified)1. However, this can take time and may delay getting your order enforced. Consider getting a certified copy before you need it.
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.
1 Chapter 15 of the New Hampshire Judiciary Domestic Violence Protocol. www.nh.gov/judiciary/district/protocols/dv/c15.pdf
Can I get someone to help me through this process? 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 an advocate at a local domestic violence program or an 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 protective order, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.
To find a program and legal aid in your area that may be able to help you please visit our NH Places that Help page located on the top of this page.
Do I need to tell the court in New Hampshire if I move?
The court that gave you your protective order needs to have an up-to-date address for you at all times. That’s because they will communicate with you only by mail if anything happens to your protective order – for example, if your abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way. If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, you must provide the court with a new address where you can receive mail.
If you provide your new address to the court, it will 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. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you may be able to use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. box instead.