Federal Laws on Full Faith and Credit
The Violence Against Women Act, initially passed by Congress in 1994,
contains several provisions pertaining to the issuance and enforcement of
protection orders, especially as they pertain to cross-jurisdiction enforcement.
VAWA was updated in 2000 and 2005.
WHAT IS A PROTECTION ORDER for purposes of the federal law?
18 U.S.C. 2265(5)
(A) The term “protection order” includes any injunction or other
order issued for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts
or harassment against, or contact or communication with or physical
proximity to, another person, including any temporary or final order
issued by a civil and criminal court whether obtained by filing and
independent action or as a pendent elite order in another proceeding so
long as any civil or criminal order was issued in response to a
complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of a person seeking
(B) any support, child custody or visitation provisions, orders,
remedies or relief issued as part of a protection order, restraining
order, or injunction pursuant to State, tribal, territorial, or local
law authorizing the issuance of protection orders, restraining orders,
or injunctions for the protection of victims of domestic violence,
sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.
WHAT IS THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT REQUIREMENT?
18 U.S.C. 2265(a)
Any protection order that is consistent with subsection (b) of this section
by the court of one State or Indian tribe (the issuing State, Indian tribe, or
territory) shall be accorded full faith and credit by the court of another
State, Indian tribe, or territory (the enforcing State, Indian tribe, or
territory) and enforced by the court and law enforcement personnel of the other
State, Indian tribal government or Territory as if it were the order of the
enforcing State, Indian tribe, or territory.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS of Sec. 2265(b)?
18 U.S.C. 2265(b)
A protection order issued by a State or tribal court is consistent with this
(1) such court has jurisdiction over the parties and matter under the law of
such State or Indian tribe; and
(2) reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard is given to the person
against whom the order is sought sufficient to protect that person’s right to
due process. In the case of ex parte orders, notice and opportunity to be heard
must be provided within the time required by State or tribal law, and in any
event within a reasonable time after the order is issued, sufficient to protect
the respondent’s due process rights.
WHAT ABOUT “MUTUAL ORDERS”?
18 U.S.C. 2265(c)
Cross or Counter Petition
A protection order issued by a State or tribal court against one who has
petitioned, filed a complaint, or otherwise filed a written pleading for
protection against abuse by a spouse or intimate partner is not entitled to full
faith and credit if:
(1) no cross or counter petition, complaint, or other written pleading was
filed seeking such a protection order; or
(2) a cross or counter petition has been filed and the court did not make
specific findings that each party was entitled to such an order.
DOES THE PROTECTION ORDER NEED TO BE REGISTERED?
18 U.S.C. 2265(d)
(2) No Prior Registration or Filing as Prerequisite for Enforcement
Any protection order that is otherwise consistent with this section shall be
accorded full faith and credit, notwithstanding failure to comply with any
requirement that the order be registered or filed in the enforcing State or
CAN THE ENFORCING JURISDICTION SEND NOTICE TO THE RESPONDENT OR PUBLISH
INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET?
18 U.S.C. 2265(d)
A State or Indian tribe according full faith and credit to an order by a
court of another State or Indian tribe shall not notify or require notification
of the party against whom a protection order has been issued that the protection
order has been registered or filed in that enforcing State or tribal
jurisdiction unless requested to do so by the party protected under such order.
(3) Limits on Internet Publication or Registration Information
A State, Indian tribe, or territory shall not make available publicly on the
Internet any information regarding the registration or filing of a protection
order, restraining order, or injunction in either the issuing or enforcing
State, tribal or territorial jurisdiction, if such publication would be likely
to publicly reveal the identity or location or the party protected under such
order. A State, Indian tribe, or territory may share court-generated and law
enforcement-generated information contained in secure, governmental registries
for protection order enforcement purposes.
WHAT AUTHORITY DO TRIBES HAVE TO ENFORCE PROTECTION ORDERS?
18 U.S.C. 2265(e)
Tribal Court Jurisdiction
For purposes of this section, a tribal court shall have full civil
jurisdiction to enforce protection orders, including authority to enforce any
orders through civil contempt proceedings, exclusion of violators from Indian
lands, and other appropriate mechanisms, in matters arising within the authority
of the tribe.