How do I get my order of protection 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.* 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.
* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)
Do I need a special copy of my order of protection to it enforced?
In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order of protection to register it in a new state. A certified copy shows that it is a "true and correct" copy; it is generally signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Arkansas, a certified order of protection has a stamp or seal on it. It might also only have a "file mark" with the date and time the order was filed.
The copy you originally received was most likely not a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, go to the Domestic Relations Division of the court that gave you the order, and ask for a certified copy. There may be a fee to get a certified copy of an order of protection.
Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move and consider leaving 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 order of protection 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 of protection, 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 our Places that Help page and select your state.
Do I need to the tell the court in Arkansas if I move?
Arkansas does not require you to tell the court if you move. However, if you are participating in the Arkansas address confidentiality program, you need to tell the Department of Finance and Administration if your address changes.*
Even though you do not have to tell the court in Arkansas that you are moving, you might want to speak with a lawyer about whether you may miss any court documents related to your case if you do not update your address. You might also want to contact an attorney in your new state in to help you register your order of protection there if you decide to do so.
* Ark. Code § 27-16-811(2)(B)