Federal Full Faith and Credit Laws

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Federal Full Faith and Credit Laws

Under federal law, a protective order issued in one state must be enforced wherever a violation occurs — even if it is not in the same state where the order was issued. Known as full faith and credit, this federal law seeks to protect victims of domestic violence from abusers crossing state lines to violate the terms of protection orders. If you have questions about protection orders, contact Gina M. Costello & Associates, P.S. in Spokane, Washington, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney who can help you understand the scope and effect of the order.

Interstate enforcement of protection orders

Pursuant to federal law, each state is required to give full faith and credit to valid protection orders issued by other states. 18 U.S.C.A. § 2265. Protective orders are defined broadly under the law to include "any injunction, restraining order, or any other order issued by a civil or criminal court for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, sexual violence, or contact or communication with or physical proximity to, another person…" 18 U.S.C.A. § 2266(5)(A). Support, child custody and visitation provisions, if issued as part of a protective order, must also be enforced. 18 U.S.C.A. § 2266(5)(B).

A key component of the law is that the protection order must be valid before the jurisdiction is required to enforce it. To be valid, a protection order must have been issued by a court that had jurisdiction over the parties, as well as jurisdiction over the matter under the law. Furthermore, the person against whom the order was sought must have been given reasonable notice of the proposed order and an opportunity to be heard before issuance of the order. 18 U.S.C.A. § 2265(b).

The order does not have to be an original or contain a raised seal. The person whom the order protects does not have a duty to register the order with the new state, should he or she move. Also, the person seeking to enforce the order does not have to carry a copy of it with him or her.

If the police in another state fail to comply with a protection order because it was issued by another jurisdiction, the officer and/or the police department may be held legally responsible for their inaction if someone is injured as a result.

Speak to a domestic violence lawyer

Just because a protection order was issued against you in one state does not mean it cannot be enforced against you in another. Under federal law, a valid protection order must be enforced in any U.S. jurisdiction where a violation occurs. Contact Gina M. Costello & Associates, P.S. in Spokane, Washington, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney to learn more.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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