How do I get my protection order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protection order enforced in another state. However, many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about enforcement of out-of-state orders. These rules differ from state to state, so it is important to find out what the rules are before you try to get your protection order enforced in another state.
For example, a state may ask you to “register” or file your order so that the court and the police know about it. Although knowing the state rules can make enforcement easier, a valid protection order is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.
Note: It is important to keep a copy of your protection order with you at all times. It may 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.
Do I need a special copy of my protection order to have it enforced?
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 South Dakota, a certified order has a raised seal on it.
The copy you originally receive from the circuit court should be a certified copy. Each certified copy is sealed with the circuit court seal (located on the signature page) to show that the copy actually came from the court.
Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You may also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move and 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 may want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work and 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 that you move to. 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 you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.
Do I need to tell the court in South Dakota if I move?
Yes, if you won’t be getting mail at your old address. The court that gave you your protection order needs to have an up-to-date address for you at all times. That’s because they will communicate with you only by mail if anything happens to your protection order- for example, if the abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way. If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, it may be a good idea to provide the court with a new address where you can receive mail.
If you provide your new address to the court, they will keep it confidential. However, your new address could possibly be released to court officials in your new state or law enforcement officials in either South Dakota or your new state. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you can use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. Box instead. You may want to consider giving an address that is in a different state from the one you have moved to.