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 protective 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 protection 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 protection order enforced in another state?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protection 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 Oklahoma, a certified order has a stamped seal on it as well as the signature of the court clerk.
The copy you originally received may not be a certified copy unless you specifically asked for one at the time your order was issued. 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 involved in obtaining 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 along with a photo of the abuser. 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 protection order enforced in another state. However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state to which you have moved. A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your protection order and help you through the process if you decide to do so.
To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state to which you are moving, please click on the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and then choose the state where you are going.
I have an emergency ex-parte protective 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 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.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)