Domestic Violence Injunctions for Protection in Florida

Before reading past this paragraph, please understand that this blog will cover a restraining order for domestic violence in Florida, which is legally referred to as an “Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.” We will take a deeper dive into Florida’s definition of domestic violence and how to request a domestic violence injunction below, but this blog will not cover the other types of restraining orders/injunctions for protection, which apply to stalking/cyberstalking and repeat, dating, and sexual violence. 

What is Domestic Violence in Florida?

Florida law defines domestic violence as any criminal offense committed by a family or household member against another family or household member that results in physical injury or death. Crimes that commonly result in domestic violence charges include assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, and kidnapping. 

Knowing the definition of a family or household member is important. In Florida, this includes:

  • Current and former spouses
  • People related by blood or marriage
  • People who currently or formerly lived together “as if a family”
  • Current and former partners with a shared child

What Can a Domestic Violence Injunction Do?

There are many court orders a judge may attach to a domestic violence injunction. At its most basic level, the injunction orders a respondent to stay away from a petitioner.  This order includes a petitioner’s home, work, and/or children’s school. The judge might also order the respondent to give a petitioner temporary child support or custody (referred to as time-sharing), move out of a petitioner’s house, or enroll in a batterer’s treatment program. Respondents are also required to give up any guns they may own during the duration of an injunction.

How Long Does a Domestic Violence Injunction Last?

A court may grant temporary domestic violence injunctions for 15 days without a hearing. Temporary injunctions will last no longer than 15 days because they are issued without the respondent having his or her day in court. Before those 15 days are up, there will be a court hearing with both the petitioner and the respondent present. Both sides may present evidence and testimony to either support or not support the issuance of a permanent domestic violence injunction. If a final injunction is approved, it may or may not have an expiration date.

How Do You Get a Domestic Violence Injunction? 

You must go to the circuit court or the Clerk of Courts where either you or the respondent reside (or the location where the domestic violence occurred) and fill out a series of forms. One of these forms is the petition for a domestic violence injunction. A judge will review your petition and either immediately grant a temporary injunction and set a hearing or just set a hearing. You may also hire an attorney to file the petition for you.

An attorney is not required, but having one is better than going it alone. You need to clearly show that there is an immediate and present danger of your falling victim to domestic violence. Making an error on the documents or petitioning for the wrong type of injunction can damage your chances of getting legal protection against the respondent. An attorney can also help you sort through complex matters like time-sharing, child support, and spousal support. 

How Do You Fight a Domestic Violence Injunction?

First and foremost, if the petitioner is granted a temporary injunction, DO NOT CONTACT the petitioner in any way. If you contact the petitioner, you may be charged with a crime. Next, contact an attorney. An attorney will help you come up with a game plan for defending against the injunction. Just like those seeking an injunction, an attorney is not required; however, attempting to defend against an injunction on your own without knowing the complexities of evidence and procedure may mean that an injunction is granted when it should not be granted.

Heather Bryan Law, P.A. is prepared to help you prevail with your petition or defend against a petition during what is an understandably stressful time. Help is available. Call us at (863) 825-5309 to discuss your options today.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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