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 restraining 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 restraining 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.
Note: It is important to keep a copy of your restraining order 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. To learn more, read the “Enforcing an Out-of-State Order” section in the state where you have moved.
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.
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 an OR 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. You might want to 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. You can 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. You can also 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, 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, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and then click Advocates and Shelters.
Do I need to tell the court in Oregon if I move?
Yes. The court that gave you your restraining order needs to have an up-to-date mailing address for you at all times so they can communicate with you if anything happens to your restraining order - for example, if your abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way.
If you won’t be getting mail at your old address, you need to give the court a mailing address and a contact phone number. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you can use the address of a trusted friend or a P.O. Box instead. The change of address form that you will need to fill out is available online or at the courthouse.
Remember, if you want to keep your new address confidential, be sure to tell this to the court clerk and ask that your address not be made public to the abuser.