How do I get my protective order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your protective 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 protective 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.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need anything special to get my protective order enforced in another state?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your protective 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 the original copy you received is not a certified copy, you would need to go to the courthouse where your protective order was issued and request one from the district clerk. There should be no fee for this service but you may want to call the courthouse to be sure. See our TX Courthouse Locations page for courthouse contact information.
Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to get your protective 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 protective 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, click the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and then choose your state from the drop-down menu.
Do I need to tell the court in Texas if I move?
If your contact information in your protective order is not confidential, you may file a notification of change of contact information (may be called a “change of address” form) to modify the order. If you file this notification, the court will send a copy to the respondent.1 The clerk of court may need your new address to contact you if there is any change - for example, if the abuser asks a judge to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way. However, if you do not want the abuser to know your new address, you may want to tell the clerk that the address is confidential and ask what steps you have to take to keep it hidden from the abuser.
1 See Tex. Fam. Code § 87.004