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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 15, 2023

What if I move and change my address?

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.  Therefore, in Pennsylvania, the courts and police will recognize and enforce a valid protection order from another state.1

Pennsylvania does not require that a PFA be filed for it to be enforced. 2 You may choose to file a certified copy of your protection order with the prothonotary in other counties in Pennsylvania (such as the county where you work or move to) as an extra precaution, but this is not mandatory.  A protection order from a Pennsylvania judge is enforceable in any county in the state, regardless of whether you’ve filed it in that county.1  You can ask for a certified copy of your protective order in the court where it was issued – you will not be charged a fee in Pennsylvania for certified copies.2   For more information on certifying your PFA see Do I need anything special to get my PFA enforced in another state?

Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders.  If you are moving outside of Pennsylvania, you can find out about that state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or a prosecutor in that area.  You can also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111, ext. 2) for information on enforcing your order in another state.

To read more information about how moving out of Pennsylvania may affect your PFA, please see our Moving to Another State with Your Protection From Abuse Order page.

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 23 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6104(a)-(e); 6105(h)
2 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6104(d)(3)
2 23 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6102; 6104(d)