How do I get my restraining order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your New Jersey restrainng 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 restrainng 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.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need anything special to get my restraining order enforced in another state?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your restraining 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 New Jersey, a certified order may have a raised seal on it or have a judge’s original signature or a stamp that says it is a “true copy.”
If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order, and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. There is no fee to get a certified copy of a NJ restraining order.
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 restraining 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. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your restraining order in that state, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.
Do I need to tell the court in New Jersey if I move?
If you won’t be getting mail at your old address, it would likely be a good idea to give the court a current address so that you can be notified of any actions that are taken regarding your restraining order. The court will communicate with you only by mail if anything happens to your restraining order. For example, if the abuser asks the court to dismiss the order, or change it in any way, the court will send you written notice letting you know. If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, you would likely want to provide the court with a new address where you can receive mail. However, before doing so, confirm with the clerk that your address will be kept confidential and not available to the abuser or any other member of the public. If you feel unsafe giving the court your new address, consider using the address of a trusted relative or friend or a P.O. Box instead.
If you are a participant in The New Jersey Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), you should also inform them about your change of address. ACP can be reached toll free at (877) 218-9133. For more information on this program and how it can help you, go to the NJ Coalition to End Domestic Violence’s website.