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Protective Orders from Another State

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created May 1, 2006

If I have a protective order from another state, is it good in Massachusetts?

Yes. If you follow the proper procedures for filing the order in Massachusetts, the order will be enforced here and enforced as if it were issued in Massachusetts for as long as the order is in effect in the state where it was issued.

Does the out-of-state protective order need to be the same kind of order as a Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Order in order to be enforced in Massachusetts?

No. The out-of-state protection order does not need to be the same kind of order as a Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Order under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 209A. The out-of-state order does not need to be one involving the same kinds of people as those subject to Massachusetts abuse prevention orders under Ch. 209A. That means that an out-of-state protection order does not need to involve a “family or household member” or somebody with whom you have a “substantive dating relationship” in order to be enforced in Massachusetts.

A protection order issued by the court of another state, territory or possession of the United States, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, or a tribal court will be enforced in Massachusetts if it is issued for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, or contact or communication with or physical proximity to another person.

What do I do to have my out-of-state protective order enforced in Massachusetts?

You file a certified copy of the protective order in a District Court, Boston Municipal Court, Probate and Family Court or Superior Court. You also must file an affidavit, a sworn statement, that to the best of your knowledge the order is currently in effect, as written. There is a form Affidavit for Filing of Out-of-State Protective Order.

What happens once I have filed the out-of-state order in a Massachusetts court?

The order will be entered into the Massachusetts statewide domestic violence records keeping system. Clerk-Magistrates and Registers of Probate are required to forward any certified copy of an out-of-state protective order they receive to the court’s probation office for entry into the domestic violence record keeping system on the same day that the order is filed in the court.

A law enforcement officer may presume the validity of the order and enforce it, as if it were an Abuse Prevention Order issued by a Massachusetts court, so long as the officer has been provided with a copy of the order and a statement by the person protected by the order that the order remains in effect.


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