How do I get my domestic violence restraining order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your domestic violence restraining 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 domestic violence restraining 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.
Note: It is important to keep a copy of your domestic violence restraining order with you at all times. It may also be 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.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need anything special to get my restraining order enforced in another state?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your domestic violence restraining order. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy.
The copy you originally received may be a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy or if you are not sure, you can call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. There may be a fee to get a certified copy of a U.S. Virgin Islands domestic violence restraining order.
Note: It may be 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 to leave 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 also want to give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser and to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
Do I need to tell the court in the U.S. Virgin Islands if I move?
The court that gave you your protective order may need to have an up-to-date address for you so that court staff can communicate with you if anything happens to your protective order - for example, if the abuser asks the judge to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way. If you will not be receiving mail at your old address, you may want to provide the court staff with a new address where you can receive mail.
If you provide your new address to the court staff, you may be able to request that they keep it confidential. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you may be able to use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. Box instead.