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Legal Information: Tribal

Tribal Law

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March 12, 2010

Is my tribal protection order valid outside the reservation? If I have a protection order by the state court, is it valid on the reservation?

Yes. Under most circumstances, a protection order is valid in all 50 states, Washington D.C., on all tribal land and in all U.S. Territories, according to the Full Faith and Credit Section of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).*

Note: It is important to know that Full Faith and Credit for protection orders issued from tribal governments has been slow in receiving recognition by jurisdictions outside of tribal lands.

Even though, by law, your tribal court protection order is valid in any jurisdiction throughout the country, what has been happening in some places is that women have been required by some state courts to also petition in their state courts for an order off the reservation.

You may want to consult with an attorney or ask the clerk of court about this-- you should not have to file for more than one protection order at any given time. You may want to make sure that the state courts know about your tribal court-issued order and have registered it.

* 18 USC §2265

If I have a tribal protection order, do I need a state-issued protection order, and vice versa?

No. You should not need more than one protection order. However, some exceptions may apply. Please see above for more information. You may wish to register your Order with the court in the county or reservation you are currently living in. Registration is not required, but may be helpful in ensuring that your order will be enforced. However you should consult with a domestic violence advocate to see whether registering is in your best interest, because it is possible that registering your order will alert your abuser of your new address.