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Is a protective order still valid if I move to another state?

A protective order that was granted in Texas is valid in every state and tribal court in the United States. In addition, all US territories must enforce a protective order that was issued in Texas. Under the federal Violence Against Women Act, all courts must treat protective orders with 'full faith and credit".

Because protective orders are valid in any state, an individual who has been the victim of domestic violence can feel free to move to another state without the need to petition the court for another protective order. However, the individual should make sure that the protective order that was issued is valid under federal law before they move.

In order to be considered valid under federal law, a protective order must have been issued to prevent acts of violence, threatening behavior or harassment. The person cited in the protective order must have had an opportunity to respond to the allegations in court regardless of whether they took the opportunity to do so or not. In addition, the court that issued the protective order must have had the authority to make decisions in the case.

A person may be concerned about whether or not a protective order that was issued to them is still valid. Although some protective orders are good indefinitely, some must be renewed after a certain period. An attorney may be able to help a person to determine if the protective order in their case is still valid under federal law. If not, an attorney may help a person to have a protective order renewed. Every case of family violence is different so this information is not meant to take the place of personalized legal advice.

Source: Women's Law, "Restraining Orders", December 22, 2014

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