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Legal Information: Wyoming

Wyoming Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Orders of Protection

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Wyoming?

For the purposes of getting an order of protection, “domestic abuse” is when a member of your household does any of the following things to you:

  • physically abuses you;
  • threatens to physically abuse you;
  • attempts to cause or causes physical harm or acts which unreasonably restrain your personal liberty (i.e., forcibly holding you down);
  • puts you in fear of immediate physical harm;
  • makes you reasonably afraid that s/he is going to physically hurt you in the near future; or
  • makes you have sex or engage in sexual activity by force, threat of force or duress (pressure or coercion).1

If you are being stalked, you may qualify for an order of protection against stalking.

1 Wyoming Code 35-21-102(a)(iii)

What types of domestic violence orders of protection are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of domestic violence orders of protection in Wyoming. If a judge believes you are in danger of further abuse, s/he can issue an ex parte temporary order of protection. “Ex parte” is Latin for “from one side,” which means that the abuser is not notified ahead of time that the order is being issued and is not present in court. This temporary order will last only until your full court hearing when the abuser has an opportunity to tell his/her side, usually within 72 hours.1

To get a final order, you will have a hearing in front of a judge. Both you and the abuser will have an opportunity to tell your sides of the story at this hearing .A final domestic violence order of protection lasts up to three years and may be renewed multiple times for additional periods of time up to three years each.2 See Can I change, cancel or extend my order? for more information.

1 Wyoming Code § 35-21-104
2 Wyoming Code §§ 35-21-106(b), 7-3-510

What protections can I get in a domestic violence order of protection?

An ex parte temporary order of protection can:

  1. order the abuser to:
    • not physically abuse you or threaten to physically abuse you;
    • not cause or attempt to cause physical harm to you or commit acts that unreasonably restrain your personal liberty (for example, keeping you locked in a room);
    • not place you in reasonable fear of immediate physical harm;
    • not make you involuntarily participate in sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress;
    • not contact you in any way, either directly or indirectly, including, but not limited to:
    • verbal contact in person, by telephone, other electronic means, including e-mail, texting, fax, contacting through social media, using the internet or similar technology, and any other form of communication;
    • written communication in any form, including through the mail;
    • communication through another person (a “third person”); or
    • nonverbal communication and gestures;
    • not come to your place of employment;
    • not come so close to your place of employment so that it would “upset your life” under any circumstances;
    • not come to your home and not enter your home;
    • not come so close to your home so that it would “upset your life” under any circumstances; and
    • not place you under surveillance;
    • immediately leave the home
    • not transfer, hide, or otherwise get rid of your property or your joint property with the abuser;
    • not abduct, remove, or hide any child in your custody;
    • not contact your children at their school; and
    • not use or have firearms;
  2. give you:
    • sole possession of your home during the period the order is in effect;
    • temporary custody of your children; and
    • other terms that the judge believes are appropriate.1

    A final order of protection can:

    1. do everything listed above; and
    2. include the following additional things:
      • as an alternative to giving you sole possession of the home, the judge could order the respondent to provide temporary suitable alternative housing for you and any children that the abuser is obligated to support;
      • allow you to get your personal belongings from the home (if you are leaving the home);
      • order the abuser to pay you child support and, possibly, temporary financial support for you;
      • order the abuser to pay medical costs that resulted from the abuse; (Note: You may also be able to sue for other losses suffered as a result of the abuse in small claims court - see WY Suing an Abuser for Money for more info);
      • order the abuser to get counseling;
      • order the abuser to do / not do anything else needed for your protection;
      • order your wireless cell phone company to:
        • transfer to you the right to use any cell phone numbers (yours and your children’s) that were part of a joint account with the abuser or that were in the abuser’s name; and
        • terminate the abuser’s ability to use or access any data associated with those phone numbers;
      • give you sole possession of a pet, whether the pet is kept or owned by you, the respondent, or a minor child of either;
      • prohibit the abuser from having contact with the pet, removing it, concealing it, or disposing of it;
      • give the abuser visitation of your children. However, the judge must put protections in place for the safety of you and your children. For example, the judge can:
    • order the children to be exchanged in a protected setting;
    • order that visitation be arranged and supervised by another person or agency, and if the other person is a family or household member, establish conditions to be followed during the visitation;
    • order the respondent to attend and complete to the court’s satisfaction a program of intervention or other counseling as a condition of visitation;
    • order the respondent to not drink alcohol or use drugs for up to 24 hours before the visitation and during the visitation;
    • order the respondent to pay a fee through the court towards the costs of supervised visitation;
    • prohibit overnight visitation;
    • require the respondent to post a bond (place money with the court) to secure the return and safety of your children; and/or
    • order anything else to keep you, the children or another family or household member safe.2

    Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

    1 See Wyoming Courts website, Ex Parte Order of Protection
    2 Wyoming Code 35-21-105; Wyoming Courts website, Order of Protection

    In which county can I file for a domestic violence order of protection?

    You can file a petition in the circuit court in the county where you live. If there is no circuit court in your county, you can file the petition in the district court.1

    1 Wyoming Code § 35-21-102(a)(ii); § 35-21-103(a)

    If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

    When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

    There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

    1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
    2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
    3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

    However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

    You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

    Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

    Who can get an order of protection

    Who is eligible for a domestic violence order of protection?

    Someone who is abused by a “household member” may apply for an order.  A household member is defined as:

    • your husband or wife;
    • your ex-husband or ex-wife;
    • someone you live or have lived with (as if you were married);
    • your parent;
    • your “adult child” (which means the child is age 16 or over or legally married);
    • other adults that you live with (“adult” means age 16 or over or legally married);
    • someone with whom you have a child in common; or
    • someone you are dating or dated in the past.1

    Note: If you are under 16 years old and need an order of protection, your parent can file on your behalf.

    If you do not qualify for a domestic violence order of protection, you may qualify for an order of protection against stalking or sexual assault.

    1 Wyoming Code § 35-21-102(a)(i),(iv)

    Can I get a domestic violence order for protection against a same-sex partner?

    In Wyoming, you may apply for a domestic violence order of protection against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who is eligible for a domestic violence order of protection?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Wyoming?

    You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

    How much does it cost? Do I need an attorney?

    There is no fee for filing for an order of protection in Wyoming and you do not need an attorney.  However, you may want to hire an attorney, especially if the abuser has one.  If you have an attorney, the judge may order the abuser to pay reasonable attorney’s fees – whether the attorney is court appointed or hired by you.1

    If you cannot find a lawyer, you may wish to have someone from a domestic violence agency in your area go with you. You can find information for help in your area on our WY Places that Help page.

    1 Wyoming Code § 35-21-103(d),(h)

    Steps for getting an order of protection

    Step 1: Go to the courthouse.

    You can file for an order of protection at your circuit court clerk’s office.  If there is no circuit court clerk office in your area, you may go to the district court clerk’s office.1  Go to the WY Courthouse Locations page to find a court in your area.

    It is sometimes helpful to bring the following information about the abuser with you, if you have it:

    • a photo of the abuser;
    • addresses of where s/he lives and works;
    • his/her phone number;
    • a description what his/her car looks like and the license plate number.

    Bring some form of ID for yourself, if you have it, for when the petition gets notarized in court.

    1 Wyoming Code § 35-21-103(a)

    Step 2: Get the forms.

    Wyoming has a packet of information and forms. You will find them at the courthouse. You can also check for forms online at our WY Download Court Forms page.

    Step 3: Fill out the forms.

    On the petition, you will be called the “petitioner” and the abuser will be called the “respondent.”

    Carefully fill out the petition. Be specific. Write briefly about the incidents of violence, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible.

    Before you sign the forms, check with the court clerk so you can sign it in front of a notary. Once you’re finished, give the forms to the clerk.

    You shouldn’t be asked to pay anything.

    Step 4: Hearing for a temporary order

    After you finish filling out your petition, the court clerk will bring it to a judge. The judge will look it over and may want to ask you some questions. If the judge believes that there is a danger of further abuse to you, the judge is supposed to give you a temporary order of protection.1 The temporary order is supposed to protect you until you can have a final hearing. The court is supposed to arrange for service of the temporary order regardless of whether the abuser lives in WY or out of state.2

    Whether a judge grants you a temporary order or not, you will usually be given a court date for a final hearing within 72 hours of filing your petition. If a final hearing cannot be scheduled within 72 hours, it will be scheduled as soon as possible afterwards.3 The court will give you a piece of paperwork marked “Notice of Hearing.” The Notice of Hearing will have the time and date of your final hearing written on it.

    1 WY ST § 35-21-104(a)(i)
    2 WY ST § 35-21-104(a)(ii)
    3 WY ST § 35-21-104(a)(iii),(iv)

    Step 5: Service of process

    The abuser must be served (given) papers that give him/her your temporary restraining order (if the judge gave you one) and inform him/her about the hearing date. The clerk of court can give you information on how the abuser will be served but according to WY law, the court is supposed to arrange for service of the temporary order regardless of whether the abuser lives in WY or out of state.1

    If the respondent is not served before your hearing, ask the judge to reschedule the hearing. Be sure to also ask the judge to extend your temporary order if you have one.

    1 WY ST § 35-21-104(a)(ii)

    You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

    Step 6: Hearing for a final order of protection

    Before you can get a final order of protection, you will need to have a hearing in front of a judge. The abuser will also have the chance to be there.  You must go to the hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over.

    To get a domestic violence order for protection, you must:

    1. Prove that the respondent has committed acts of domestic violence (as defined by the law) against you; and
    2. Convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in your petition.

    For information on what counts as domestic violence in an order of protection hearing, see What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Wyoming?

    See the At the Hearing section under the Preparing for Court tab at the top of this page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

    If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you an order of protection, or reschedule the hearing.  If the hearing is rescheduled, be sure to ask the judge to have your temporary order extended until that date.  If you show up to court and the abuser has a lawyer and you do not, you may ask the judge for a continuance to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself.  To find a lawyer in your area, please visit our WY Finding a Lawyer page.

    After the hearing

    Can the abuser have a gun?

    Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

    • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Wyoming have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
    • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
    • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

    You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

    What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

    These are some things you may want to consider after you have been granted a protective order.  Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:

    • Review the order before you leave the courthouse.  If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
    • Make several copies of the protective order as soon as possible.
    • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
    • You might want to inform your employer, clergy, family members, and/or your closest friends that you have a protective order in effect so that they can be aware of the restrictions on the abuser.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
    • You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number.

    Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order.  Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  Click on the following link for suggestions about Safety Tips.  Advocates at local resource centers can help you design a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.  You can find an advocate in your area on the WY Advocates and Shelters page.

    I did not get an order of protection. What can I do?

    If you are not granted an order of protection, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. You will find a list of Wyoming resources on our WY Places that Help page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Safety Tips page.

    You may also be able to reapply for an order of protection if you have new evidence to show the court that domestic abuse did occur, or if a new incident of domestic abuse happens after you are denied the order.

    What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

    You can call the police immediately, even if you think it is a minor violation. The “willful violation” of a temporary or final order of protection can be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $750.00, or both.1

    The abuser can also be held in contempt of court for violating the court order and punished by the judge. To file for contempt, you would file a motion and affidavit for an order to show cause in the court that issued the order of protection.

    1 Wyoming Code §§ 35-21-106(c); 6-4-404

    Can I change, cancel or extend my order?

    Either you or the abuser can file in court to modify (change), terminate (cancel) or extend the order.

    To change or cancel your order, either you or the abuser can return to the court that gave the original order and ask a judge to change or cancel it. You or the abuser will have to explain to a judge why the order should or should not be changed or canceled. If the abuser asks to have the order changed or canceled, there will be a hearing. You should go the hearing and explain why a judge should not change or cancel it.

    The order may be extended multiple times once upon a showing of “good cause” for additional periods of time, not to exceed three years (for each extension).1 If you would like to extend your order, you will need to return to the court clerk’s office to file for an extension before your order expires.

    1 Wyoming Code §§ 7-3-510, 35-21-106(b)

    What happens to my protection order if the abuser goes to jail or prison?

    In Wyoming, if during the time that you have a protection order, the judge sends the abuser to jail or to prison; the length of time that the order is in effect gets extended. If the abuser goes to jail partway through the effective length of an order, then the remaining length of the order is paused until the abuser is released. Once the abuser is released, the order will be in effect for the remaining amount of time set out in the order, or for one year, whichever is longer.1 For example, let’s say you get a three-year protection order and then six months later the abuser is sent to prison for five years. When the abuser gets out of prison, your order will still be valid for another two years and six months.

    1 Wyoming Code §§ 7-3-510; 35-21-106(b)

    Orders of Protection Against Stalking or Sexual Assault

    An order of protection against stalking or sexual assault provides protection from someone who has stalked you or committed sexual assault against you. You can file for this order regardless of whether or not you reported the stalking or sexual assault to the police - there does not have to be an arrest or conviction for you to file for (and receive) an order of protection.

    Basic information and definitions

    What is the legal definition of stalking in Wyoming?

    Stalking is when, with the intention to harass you, the stalker commits acts (engages in a “course of conduct”) that is reasonably likely to harass you.1

    “Harass,” in this context, means committing repeated actions that are directed at a specific person, such as verbal threats, written threats, lewd or obscene statements or images, vandalism, physical contact without your consent, or other actions. The stalker must know (or should know) that these actions would cause a “reasonable person” to suffer one of the following:

    • substantial emotional distress;
    • substantial fear for one’s own safety or for the safety of another person; or
    • substantial fear for the destruction of one’s property.2

    ​The “course of conduct” that the stalker must commit includes, but is not limited to, any combination of the following:

    • in a harassing manner, communicating with you (or causing someone else to communicate with you) verbally, electronically, mechanically, by telephone, or in writing - this includes anonymous communications;
    • following you;
    • placing you under surveillance by waiting outside your home (unless you live with the stalker), school, workplace, vehicle, other place where you are; or
    • committing other repeated acts that harass you.1

    1 Wyoming Code § 6-2-506(b)
    2 Wyoming Code § 6-2-506(a)(ii)

    What is the legal definition of sexual assault?

    Who can file for an order of protection against stalking or sexual assault?

    A petition for an order of protection based on stalking or sexual assault can be filed by:

    • the victim;
    • the district attorney on behalf of the victim, with the victim’s consent; or
    • any person with legal authority to act on behalf of the victim if the victim is:
      • a minor;
      • a vulnerable adult, as defined by law; or
      • any other adult who, because of age, disability, health or inaccessibility, cannot file the petition.1

    Note: You can file for this order regardless of whether or not you reported the stalking or sexual assault to the police. The abuser does not have to be arrested, charged or convicted for you to file for (and receive) an order of protection.2

    1 Wyoming Code § 7–3–507(a)
    2 Wyoming Code § 7–3–507(e)

    What protections can I get in an order of protection?

    An ex parte temporary order or a final order can order the abuser to:

    • not commit any further acts of stalking or sexual assault involving you or any other person;
    • stay away from your home, school, business, workplace, or any other location;
    • not intimidate, threaten, or otherwise interfere with you, your family or household members, or other specific person(s) named in the order; and
    • not contact you, your family or household members, or other specific person(s) named in the order through telephone calls, mail, e-mail, texting, fax, social media, or any other form of communication.1

    1 Wyoming Code §§ 7-3-509(a); 7–3–508(b)

    If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

    When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

    There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

    1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
    2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
    3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

    However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

    You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

    Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.

    Getting the order

    What types of orders of protection are there? How long do they last?

    There are two types of orders of protection against stalking or sexual assault, an ex parte temporary order and a final order.

    If a judge believes there exists a clear and present danger of further stalking, sexual assault, or of serious adverse (negative) physical consequences to you, s/he can issue an ex parte temporary order of protection.1 “Ex parte” is Latin for “from one side,” which means that the abuser is not notified ahead of time that the order is being issued and is not present in court. This temporary order will last only until your full court hearing when the abuser has an opportunity to tell his/her side, usually within 72 hours.2

    A final order of protection lasts for up to three years . In addition, it can be extended more than once. See Can I change, cancel or extend my order? for more information.

    To get a final order, you will have a hearing in front of a judge. Both you and the abuser will have an opportunity to tell your sides of the story at this hearing.

    1 Wyoming Code § 7–3–508(b)
    2 Wyoming Code § 7–3–508(a)
    3 Wyoming Code § 7-3-510(b)

    What are the steps to file for order of protection against stalking or sexual assault?

    Does it cost anything to file or serve the order? Do I need a lawyer?

    There is no fee to file the petition nor a fee for service of process (serving the petition upon the abuser).1  Although you do not need a lawyer, it could be helpful to have one if the petition is not being filed on your behalf by the district attorney.  If you are low-income (indigent), the judge may appoint an attorney to represent you – or you can have your own attorney or you can appear on your own (pro se).  To find contact information for legal services organizations, go to our WY Finding a Lawyer page.  If you are representing yourself, go to our At the Hearing section for tips on how to represent yourself. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

    1 Wyoming Code § 7–3–507(c),(d)

    You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

    If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

    Can I change, cancel or extend my order?

    Either you or the abuser can file in court to modify (change), terminate (cancel) or extend the order.

    To change or cancel your order, either you or the abuser can return to the court that gave the original order and ask a judge to change or cancel it. You or the abuser will have to explain to a judge why the order should or should not be changed or canceled. If the abuser asks to have the order changed or canceled, there will be a hearing. You should go the hearing and explain why a judge should not change or cancel it.

    The order may be extended multiple times upon a showing of “good cause” for additional periods of time, not to exceed 1 year (for each extension). You must be able to allege specific facts that will convince the judge that a clear and present danger to you continues to exist.1 If you would like to extend your order, you will need to return to the court clerk’s office to file for an extension before your order expires.

    1 Wyoming Code § 7-3-510

    What is the penalty for violating the order of protection?

    The “willful violation” of a temporary or final order of protection can be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $750.00, or both.1 However, if an abuser is charged with violating the order and proves that you “requested” that the abuser violate the order, this can be a defense to being found guilty.1 For example, if you call the abuser or ask him/her to come over, s/he may not be found guilty of violating the “no contact” or “stay away” provisions.

    The abuser can also be held in contempt of court for violating the court order and punished by the judge. To file for contempt, you would file a motion and affidavit for an order to show cause in the court that issued the order of protection.

    1 Wyoming Statutes § 7-3-510(c)
    2 Wyoming Statutes § 7-3-509(c)

    Moving to Another State with an Order for Protection

    If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your Wyoming order of protection can still be enforceable.

    General rules

    Can I get my order of protection from Wyoming enforced in another state?

    Yes.  If you have a valid Wyoming order of protection that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state.  The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law, states that all valid orders of protection granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories.  See How do I know if my Order of Protection is good under federal law? to find out if your order of protection qualifies.

    Each state must enforce out-of-state orders of protection in the same way it enforces its own orders.  Meaning, if the abuser violates your out-of-state order of protection, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated.  This is what is meant by “full faith and credit.”

    How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law?

    An order of protection is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

    • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
    • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
    • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
      • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

    Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
    2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

    I have an ex parte temporary order. Can it be enforced in another state?

     Yes. An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my order of protection is good under federal law?1

    Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

     

    Getting your order of protection enforced in another state

    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 order of protection 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 order of protection 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 order of protection 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 order of protection enforced in another state?

    In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order of protection. 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.  In Wyoming, a certified order has a stamp, a raised seal, the date, and the signature of a court official on it.
     
    The copy you originally received was most likely a certified copy. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk’s office for a certified copy. There is usually no fee to get certified copy of a WY order of protection.  You can find a list of courthouses in WY on our WY Courthouses & Locations page.

    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. 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. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work. Give a copy of the order 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 where you move.  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, see the WY Places that Help page. 

    Enforcing custody provisions in another state

    I was granted temporary custody with my order of protection. Can I take my kids out of the state?

    Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your order of protection. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule. To read more about custody laws in Wyoming, go to our WY Custody page.

    If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a domestic violence advocate or lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the Wyoming area on our WY Advocates and Shelters page.

    I was granted temporary custody with my order of protection. Will another state enforce this custody order?

    Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in an order of protection can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions. 1

    1 18 USC 2266

    Enforcing Your Out-Of-State Order in Wyoming

    If you are planning to move to Wyoming or are going to be in Wyoming for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

    General rules for out-of-state orders in Wyoming

    Can I get my order of protection enforced in Wyoming? What are the requirements?

    Yes. Your order of protection can be enforced in Wyoming as long as:

    • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
    • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
    • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
      • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

    Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
    2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

    Can I have my out-of-state order of protection changed, extended, or canceled in WY?

    No. Only the state that issued your order of protection can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Wyoming.

    To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living.  Find out if this is possible in your state by calling the court that issued your order. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the “How to Get a Restraining Order” page for the state where your order was issued.

    If your order does expire while you are living in Wyoming, you may be able to get a new one issued in Wyoming but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Wyoming. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Wyoming, visit our WY Domestic Violence Orders of Protection page. 

    I was granted temporary custody with my order of protection. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in WY?

    Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 Wyoming can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

    To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area click here WY Finding a Lawyer.

    1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

    Registering your out-of-state order in Wyoming

    If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?

    To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1

    There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.

    Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

    However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.

    1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
    2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016

    How do I register my order of protection in Wyoming?

    To register your order of protection in Wyoming, you must present a certified copy of your order to a clerk in the circuit or district court in the district where you think enforcement may be necessary.1  The clerk will give you a receipt and will forward your order to the local sheriff’s department or chief of police for entry into the state registry. 2

    There is no fee for registering your order,3 but it is always a good idea to bring along your photo ID and any documents that the court gave you along with your original order.

    If you need help registering your order of protection, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Wyoming for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our WY Advocates and Shelters page.

    1 WY ST § 35-21-111 (a)
    2 WY ST § 35-21-111 (c), (d)
    3 WY ST § 35-21-111 (b)

    Do I have to register my order of protection in Wyoming in order to get it enforced?

    No. Wyoming state law gives full protection to an out-of-state order of protection as long the officer believes that your order is valid (real).1 It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Wyoming police officer.2

    1 WY ST § 35-21-109
    2 WY ST § 35-21-111 (e)

    Will the abuser be notified if I register my order of protection?

    Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

    However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our WY Advocates and Shelters page.

    1 18 USC § 2265(d)

    What if I don't register my order of protection? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

    Maybe.  While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your order of protection in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a Wyoming law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real. Meaning, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

    If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Wyoming.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Wyoming, go to our WY Advocates and Shelters page.

    Does it cost anything to register my order of protection?

    No. There is no fee for registering your order of protection in Wyoming.1

    1 WY ST § 35-21-111 (b)