How do I get my relief from abuse order enforced in another state?
Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your relief from abuse 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 relief from abuse 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: In Vermont, the court administrator is required to prepare a form that will make it easier for courts in other states to enforce a Vermont relief from abuse order. Local domestic violence organizations should also have relief from abuse order envelopes that you can put your order in to make enforcement easier.
Note: It is important to keep a copy of your restraining order with you at all times. It is 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.
1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need anything special to get my relief from abuse order enforced?
In most states, you will need a certified copy of your relief from abuse order. A certified copy says that it is a “true and correct” copy; in Vermont, a certified copy has a raised seal. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask for a certified copy. You can find contact information for courthouses in Vermont on our VT Courthouse Location & Info page.
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 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 relief from abuse 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 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, go to the Places that Help tab and then chose the state you want. Then click on Advocates and Shelters to find shelters and organizations in your area.