Can I enforce my out-of-state order in Puerto Rico? What are the requirements?
Any protective order that was issued by a court in another state, tribe or territory of the United States, will have “full faith and credit” in the courts of Puerto Rico. This means that the order must be enforced as if it had been issued by a court in Puerto Rico assuming that the order was issued after notice to the respondent and a hearing where the respondent had the opportunity to be present.1
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 See 8 L.P.R.A. §674(a)
Can I have my out-of-state protective order changed, extended, or canceled in Puerto Rico?
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 Puerto Rico.
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 (if that is an option) 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 Restraining Orders section for the state where your order was issued.
If your order does expire while you are living in Puerto Rico, you may possibly be able to get a new one issued in Puerto Rico but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred there. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Puerto Rico, visit our PR Domestic Violence Protective Orders page.
What can I do if I am notified that my Puerto Rico order has changed or is no longer valid?
You will have to contact the court that issued your order to find out why your order has changed or is no longer valid. The police in Puerto Rico cannot enforce an order that has expired or has been canceled in the issuing state.
If this does happen, you may want to contact a lawyer or domestic violence organization in your area. They may be able to answer some of your questions, or help you fill out the necessary court forms to petition for a new order in Puerto Rico. You will find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations in Puerto Rico on the PR Places that Help page.
I was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protective order. Will this be enforced in Puerto Rico?
Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a protective order 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 USC § 2266