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. 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.
To speak to someone at a local domestic violence organization, go to our Advocates and Shelters page and enter your new state in the drop-down menu.
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.
Tennessee is a part of “Project Passport,” a program that makes the first page of protection orders look alike. This means it easier for officers to recognize the protection order and may make it easier to get your protection order enforced in one of these states, which include: Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (located in Alabama).
To obtain a certified copy of your protection order, you must go to the courthouse where it was issued and request a certified copy. Some county courts in Tennessee may charge a fee for the certified copy.
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.
Is there anything I can do to make it easier for another state to enforce my Tennessee protection order?
It is helpful to have the following information with you when registering your order in another state:
- A certified copy of your protection order. See Do I need a special copy of my protection order to have it enforced? for how to get a certified copy of your Tennessee order.
- The phone number of the court clerk’s office (office in charge of records) at the courthouse that issued your order. You can find contact information for Tennessee courthouses on our TN Courthouses and Locations page.
- The phone number of a domestic violence program in the county where you are registering your order. You can find contact information for local programs in any state by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 for TDD/TTY). You can also find information by selecting the state from the drop-down menu here.
- Your National Crime Information Center (NCIC) number. This is the number assigned to your order when it is registered with the NCIC. You can ask your local Sheriff Department for the number. For more information about NCIC, see What is the National Crime Information Center Registry?
- The phone number of the local police or sheriff’s department in Tennessee that has your protection order on file. You can find listings of Sheriff’s Departments in Tennessee on our TN Sheriff Dept. Locations page.