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Legal Information: New Mexico

New Mexico Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

Protection Orders (for domestic violence)

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in New Mexico?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protection order in New Mexico. Domestic abuse is defined as:

  • an incident of stalking or sexual assault whether committed by a household member or by anyone else; or
  • an incident committed by a household member against another household member that involves:
    • physical harm;
    • severe emotional distress
    • a threat causing imminent fear of bodily injury by any household member;
    • criminal damage to property;
    • repeatedly driving by a residence or work place;
    • telephone harassment;
    • harassment;
    • strangulation;
    • suffocation; or
    • harm or threatened harm to children as set forth in this paragraph.1

Note: If someone uses force to defend him/herself (self-defense) or to defend another person, that is not considered domestic abuse.1

1 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-2(D)

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

An emergency order can be granted after a police officer or sheriff requests one from the court. This generally can be done if you call law enforcement after an episode of domestic abuse.  (Note: In some counties, law enforcement may not provide this service. If emergency orders are not available in your area, you will need to wait until the next business day and go to the district court to file for a temporary protection order.)  To issue an emergency order, the judge must find that there are reasonable grounds to believe that you or your child is in immediate danger of domestic abuse following an incident of domestic abuse. You can receive an emergency order without a court hearing and without the abuser’s knowledge. The order may forbid the abuser from threatening to commit or committing further acts of domestic abuse, forbid the abuser from contacting you and grant you temporary custody of any minor children. It lasts 72 hours, or until the close of the next business day; whichever of those is later.  You should file for a temporary order during business hours at the district court as soon as you are able to.1

A temporary protection order is designed to protect you until the court hearing for a permanent protection order.  Like an emergency order, you can receive a temporary order without a court hearing and without the abuser’s knowledge.  A judge will grant the temporary order only if s/he believes, based on the affidavit or petition that you fill out, that domestic abuse has occurred.  If the judge grants a temporary order of protection, a hearing for a permanent order may be held within 10 days and the court will notify the abuser of the hearing.  In a temporary protection order, the judge may award temporary custody and visitation of any children involved. If the judge does not grant a temporary order, a hearing for a permanent order may be held within 72 hours.2

A permanent protection order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to appear and present evidence, testimony, etc.3   Permanent protection orders can last up to six months if they grant support or custody of a child (but can be extended for an additional six months).  Other permanent orders (injunctive orders) will continue until such time that one party asks for a modification or cancellation of the order.4  However, a judge may put an expiration date on the protection order based on the judge’s discretion.

To find out what a permanent protection order may contain, see How can a protection order help me?

Note: If both parties try to get an order of protection and a judge determines that both parties acted primarily as aggressors and that neither party acted primarily in self-defense, the judge may grant a mutual order of protection.3

1 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-3.2
2 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-4
3 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-5
4 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-6(C)

What protections can I get in a protection order?

An emergency ex parte order of protection, which can be issued at the request of law enforcement, can do any of the following:

  • forbid the abuser from engaging in further acts of abuse, or from threatening to commit acts of abuse, against you or any of your household members;
  • forbid the abuser from contacting you in any way; and
  • grant you temporary custody your children.1

A temporary protection order can:

  • forbid the abuser from abusing you your household members;
  • forbid the abuser from contacting you in any way (except through your lawyer if you have one);
  • order the abuser to stay away from you, your home, school and work;
  • grant you temporary custody your children (and order the abuser to have no contact with them or arrange for a way for the children to be in contact with the abuser);
  • order both you and the petitioner to not remove your children from the state or disenroll them from school while the temporary order is in effect;
  • award child support and temporary support for you when appropriate; and
  • order the abuser to leave the home and surrender keys to the home to law enforcement or allow law enforcement to accompany you to get your belongings if you are leaving the home.2

A permanent protection order can:

  • forbid the abuser from engaging in further acts of abuse, or from threatening to commit acts of abuse;
  • forbid the abuser from contacting you in any way;
  • order the abuser to let you retrieve your belongings from a home you share with him/her;
  • award you temporary custody of any children involved and determine visitation rights, child support and temporary support for you when appropriate;
  • forbid the abuser from hiding, giving away or throwing away your belongings;
  • order the abuser to pay for any expenses related to the domestic abuse including medical, counseling, replacement or repair of your damaged property, lost wages, and the cost of temporary shelter;
  • order the abuser to attend counseling sessions (and the court may also order you to attend counseling for victims);
  • evict the abuser from a residence you share with him/her or order the abuser to provide a temporary residence for you; and
  • order the abuser to hand over any firearms in his/her possession to the authorities and forbid him/her from buying firearms.3

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

If your protection order evicts the abuser from the residence you share with him/her, you can ask a local law enforcement officer to help put you in possession of the residence or carry out any other item granted in your protection order.4

1 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-3.2(C)​
2 See New Mexico Courts website, temporary order of protection form
3 N.M.S.A. § ​40-13-5(A)
4 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-7

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 a protection order

Am I eligible for a protection order?

The type of abuse that you have suffered will determine what type of relationship you must have with the abuser in order to be eligible for a protection order.

If you are the victim of stalking or sexual assault, you can file for a protection order against anyone who stalked or sexually assaulted you, including a family or household member.1

If you are the victim of any other sort of harm that is listed in What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in New Mexico?, then you can only get a protection order if the abuser is a “household member.”1 The following people are considered household members under New Mexico law (which includes family members):

  • spouse or former spouse,
  • parent, present or former stepparent, present or former parent in-law,
  • grandparent, grandparent-in-law,
  • child, stepchild, grandchild,
  • co-parent of a child; or
  • a person with whom you have had a “continuing personal relationship” (dating relationship).2

Note: You do not have to live with any of the above people - they can still be considered a “household member.”2

1 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-2(D)
2 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-2(E)

Can I get a protection order against a same sex partner?

How much does it cost to get a protection order?

There are no fees for filing for a protection order.1

1 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-3.1

Do I need an attorney?

No, you do not need an attorney to file for a protection order. However, it may be in your interest to hire an attorney if your abuser is represented by one.  A domestic abuse organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service who will take your case for free.  Go to our NM Finding a Lawyer page to find help in your area.

Steps for obtaining a protection order

Step 1: Go to court and request an application.

Go to the district court in your area. You can find a court near you by going to our Courthouse Locations page.  Find the civil court clerk and request a petition for a permanent protection order, and also tell the clerk that you want a temporary order. Usually you apply for these at the same time. You can find links to petitions online by going to Download Court Forms.

Step 2: Fill out the petition.

Carefully fill out the forms.  Write briefly about the most recent incident of violence, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation.  Be specific.  Include details and dates, if possible.  A domestic abuse organization may be able to provide you with help filling out the form.  For a shelter or organization in your area please visit our NM Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

Note: Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk, as the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.

Step 3: A judge will review your petition and assign a court date.

After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as he or she reviews your petition. The judge will decide whether or not to issue the temporary order, and if you seek a permanent order the judge will set a date for a hearing. You will be given papers that state the time and date of your hearing for a permanent protection order.

Step 4: Service of process

The abuser must be served with a notice of hearing and with any protection orders that a judge has granted you. Usually this will be done by law enforcement personnel.

Do not try and serve the abuser in person with the papers yourself.

Ask the court clerk or a domestic abuse organization for more information about serving the abuser.

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: What will I have to prove at the hearing?

You must prove that the abuser has committed acts of domestic abuse (as defined by the law) against you or your children. You must also convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the petition.

See the Preparing Your Case section for ways you can show the judge you were abused. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

Step 6: The hearing

You must go to the hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over. If you do not show up at the hearing it may be harder for you to be granted an order in the future.

If the abuser does not show up for the hearing the judge may still grant you a protective order, or the judge may order a new hearing date.

If you are going to court for a final protective order, the abuser may also be coming to court. You can read our Safety in Court page for ideas on keeping safe in court.

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 New Mexico 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?

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If you have ANY questions about it, be sure to ask the judge.
  • Make several copies of the protection order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • 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.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number.

You may also wish to make a safety plan. Women 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 protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

Call the police or sheriff, even if you think it is a minor violation. Depending on the nature of the violation, the abuser may be arrested, fined and jailed. It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.

You may file criminal charges against the abuser yourself at the district courthouse if the abuser violates the order.

You may also file in civil court for a violation of a protective order. For example, if an abuser calls you and he’s not supposed to, you can file a motion at the district court, and the court will schedule another hearing. Talk to the clerk of court about filing a motion for a violation of a protective order.

Make sure a police report is filled out if your abuser violates the order, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order it will help you have the order extended or modified.

How do I change or extend the permanent order?

To amend your protection order, either party can request a court hearing to ask for an amendment (change).1

Protection orders that grant support or custody of a child can last for up to six months. You can then request that the order be extended for an additional six months. The judge can extend if if s/he believes there is “good cause” to do so. Other permanent orders (injunctive orders) will continue until such time that one party asks for a modification or cancellation of the order2 and so they may not need to be extended.

1 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-5(F)
2 N.M.S.A. § 40-13-6(C)

What happens if I move?

Your protection order is automatically valid everywhere in New Mexico.  Additionally, the federal law provides what is called “Full Faith and Credit,” which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order; it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands. Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. You can find out about your state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area.  Please read Moving to Another State with a Protection Order for more information.

If your abuser was awarded visitation of your children, you may not be allowed to move to a different state without the court getting involved.

If you are moving out of state, you should call the battered women’s program in the state where you are going to find out how that state treats out-of-state orders. 

If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111) for information on enforcing your order there.

Note: Civil protective orders may not be enforceable on military bases, and military protective orders may not be enforceable off base. Please check with your local police department, court clerk, and/or domestic violence advocate for more details. Please see our Military Info page for more information.

Civil Restraining Orders (for harassment or other harm)

Victims of harassment or other harmful acts/crimes can apply for a civil restraining order (also called an injunction) if the victim is likely to suffer permanent (irreparable) harm if the court does not order the other person to stop the behavior and stay away. In the sections below, we explain the requirements for getting this type of restraining order in the first, second, and twelfth judicial districts. If you live in a different judicial district, you can contact an attorney or contact the district court to find out if this type of restraining order is available where you live.

County-specific information

First Judicial District (Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, and Los Alamos counties)

In the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico, which covers the counties of Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, and Los Alamos, you can apply for a civil restraining order against someone who has caused you harm that is likely to continue and be permanent (irreparable) if the court doesn’t order the person to stop. As of 2018, the filing fee for this type of order is $132. If you cannot afford the fee, you can fill out this form that asks the court to waive it.1

You can only apply for an order against someone if all of the following are true:

  • you are not the defendant’s spouse or ex-spouse;
  • you are not the defendant’s parent, child, grandparent, or grandchild;
  • you are not the defendant’s household member and you never have been; and
  • you do not have a child with the defendant.1

If you are granted a temporary restraining order, which can later become a preliminary injunction and then a permanent injunction after a hearing, the defendant can be ordered to:

  • not threaten, harm, alarm or annoy you or your family and household members;
  • stay at least a certain number of yards away from you, your residence, your workplace and your child(ren)’s school;
  • not call you, text you, email you, or contact you in any way, including contacting you or posting about you on Facebook or any other social media;
  • not block you or follow you in public places or roads;
  • pay you back for the costs and expenses you had by bringing the court case;
  • pay you back money that you spent on any of the following:
    • medical expenses that you had from an injury s/he caused to you;
    • damage to your property caused by the defendant;
    • replacement of property destroyed or taken by the defendant;
    • something else that you can convince the judge the defendant should pay you for; and
  • return specific personal property that s/he took from you; and
  • do anything else that the judge believes is appropriate.1

You can read more information about the court hearing, how to serve the defendant, and more on the How do I get a restraining order? brochure found on the First Judicial Court’s website. Please talk to a lawyer for legal advice or representation. For legal referrals, go to our NM Finding a Lawyer page.

1 See How do I get a restraining order? & Complaint and Application for Civil Restraining Order from the First Judicial District Court’s website.

Second Judicial District (Bernalillo county)

In the Second Judicial District Court of New Mexico, which covers Bernalillo county, you can apply for a civil restraining order against anyone who has caused you serious harm or threatened you with harm that is likely to continue/cause you an irreparable injury if the court doesn’t order the person to stop. According to the application on the court’s website, it appears that you can apply for an order against:

  1. your spouse or ex-spouse
  2. your boyfriend/girlfriend or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend
  3. the other parent of your child
  4. your family member
  5. someone who is married to or involved with your spouse or ex-spouse
  6. someone who is married to or involved with the other parent of your child
  7. your neighbor
  8. your co-worker or
  9. another person.1

Note: Even though the application for a civil restraining order specifically includes the above relationships, the Second Judicial District Court’s website has conflicting information. The Court’s website says: “You may request a Civil Harassment Restraining Order against people who are not close to you. Petitions for a restraining order are filed in Civil Court if a domestic relationship does not exist between the victim and abuser such as roommates, neighbors, co-workers, or non-immediate family members. This type of order is not for people who have dated or who are closed related.”2 Therefore, before applying for an order against anyone listed in numbers 1 - 4 above, you may want to confirm with the court clerk or with a lawyer ahead of time that you would qualify.

If you are granted a temporary restraining order, which can later become a preliminary injunction and then a permanent injunction after a hearing, you may be granted the following protections:

  • the defendant does not threaten, harm, harass, you or your family and household members;
  • the defendant stays at least a certain number of yards away from you, your residence, your workplace, and your child(ren)’s school;
  • the defendant does not call or contact you in any way;
  • the defendant does not block you in public places or roads; and
  • other relief to keep you safe.1

The filing fee as of 2018 is $132 and must be in cash, money order, or cashier’s check payable to Clerk of District Court.3

You can read more information about the court hearing, how to serve the defendant, and more on the Application for Civil Restraining Order Instructions page in the Second Judicial District Court’s website. Please talk to a lawyer for legal advice or representation. For legal referrals, go to our NM Finding a Lawyer page.

1 See Verified Application for Restraining Order, Second Judicial District Court’s website
2Second Judicial District Court’s website, Civil Restraining Order page
3Application for Civil Restraining Order Instructions, Second Judicial District Court’s website

Twelfth Judicial District (Otero and Lincoln counties)

In the Twelfth Judicial District Court of New Mexico, which covers the counties of Otero and Lincoln, you can apply for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against someone who will cause you (or your immediate family or household member) to suffer immediate and permanent injury, loss, or damage if the court doesn’t order the person to stop. You can ask that your children, significant other, or others living in your home be included as well.1

According to the application for a restraining order, you can request an order against any of the following people:

  • your neighbor;
  • your co-worker;
  • your ex-friend;
  • someone you dated (as long as you do not have a child together);
  • someone who was involved with your significant other;
  • certain family members; or
  • another person.1

You cannot get an order against your current or former spouse or someone with whom you have a child. And even though the application has a space for you to request an order against a “family member,” you are required to confirm that you and the respondent are not “relatives or members of the same family.”1 Therefore, you may not be able to request an order against someone in your immediate family.

Here are some examples of reasons that a temporary restraining order (TRO) can be granted, if the respondent:

  • Physically or sexually assaulted the you;
  • Followed, pursued, or stalked you;
  • Made uninvited visits to you;
  • Made or sent harassing phone calls, texts, messages, or emails to you;
  • Made threats to you;
  • Broke into and entered your home;
  • Damaged your property;
  • Stole property from you;
  • Took pictures of you without permission;
  • attended numerous public events that you also attended as a way to harass you; or
  • Committed other acts that caused you harm.1

If you are granted a temporary restraining order, you can request that a hearing be held where you can ask for a preliminary injunction. The judge can issue a preliminary injunction if s/he believes that a permanent (irreparable) injury will result. In severe cases, you can get a permanent injunction if the judge believes that the injury against you will be permanent (irreparable) and continued.1

In the temporary restraining order (TRO) or the injunction, you may be granted the following protections:

  • the respondent does not threaten, harm, harass, or annoy you or your immediate family and household members;
  • the respondent stays at least a certain number of feet away from you, your home, your workplace, the workplace of your household members, and your child(ren)’s school;
  • the respondent does not contact you or your family members in any way, including phone, text, email, Facebook, etc.;
  • the respondent does not block you or your immediate family or household members in public places or roads; and
  • other relief to keep you safe.1

Please talk to a lawyer for legal advice or representation. For legal referrals, go to our NM Finding a Lawyer page.

1Application for Restraining Order & Injunction, Twelfth Judicial District Court’s website

Moving to Another State with a Protection Order

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

General rules

Can I get my Domestic Violence Protection Order from New Mexico enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid New Mexico DVPO 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 DVPOs granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories.1 See How do I know if my DVPO is good under federal law? to find out if your DVPO qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state DVPOs in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if your abuser violates your out-of-state DVPO, 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.”

1 18 U.S.C. §2265

How do I know if my DVPO is good under federal law?

A DVPO 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. It doesn’t matter if he actually showed up in court; just that he had the opportunity to do so.
    • 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 within a “reasonable time” after the order is issued.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)(A)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b

I have an Emergency or Temporary Ex-parte order. 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 DVPO 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.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

Getting your protection order enforced in another state

How do I get my DVPO enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your DVPO to be 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 DVPO 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 DVPO enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your DVPO. 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 Mexico, a certified order has a stamp on the first page that says “Certified.”

The copy you originally received was most likely not a certified 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. It should be free to get 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 DVPO enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or lawyer in the state that you move to.  A domestic violence advocate or lawyer can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your DVPO, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an a lawyer in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and click Finding a Lawyer and Advocates and Shelters.

Do I need to tell the Court in NM if I move?

Although the NM court does not require you to tell them if you move, it may be a good idea.

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

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

 Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your DVPO.  You may have to seek the permission of the court before leaving. If your 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 domestic violence advocate or 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 NM area on our NM Places that Help page. 

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

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a DVPO 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 U.S.C. §§ 2265, 2266(5)

Enforcing Your Out-Of-State Order in New Mexico

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

General rules for out-of-state orders in New Mexico

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

Yes.  Your protection order can be enforced in New Mexico 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. It doesn’t matter if he actually showed up in court; just that he had the opportunity to do so.
    • 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 within a “reasonable time” after the order is issued.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)(A)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b); N.M.S.A § 40-13-6(E)

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in NM?

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 Pennsylvania.

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 the abuser is living. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the “How to Get a Restraining Order” page for the state where your order was issued.

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

I was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in NM?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 New Mexico 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, go to the New Mexico Finding a Lawyer page.

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 New Mexico

If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?

To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1

There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.

Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.

1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016

How do I register my protection order in New Mexico?

Take your protection order to the local courthouse.  This does not need to be a certified protection order.  The court clerk will have you fill out a coversheet.  The order is then added to NCIC, if it is not already entered.  For more information about NCIC, see the next question.

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

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

No. NM state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order.1

However, if you petitioned for a protection order and the court issued both you and your abuser protection orders (mutual protection orders), and your abuser did not file his/her own petition for the protection order, then NM may not enforce your protection order.

1N.M.S.A. § 40-13-6(E)

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 Staying Safe 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 NM Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe. While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a NM law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real.  Meaning, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in New Mexico. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in NM, go to our NM Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in New Mexico.