Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders in Florida
Daily new cases - and deaths - from COVID-19 are once again setting records, even as states are getting vaccines to willing recipients as quickly as possible. As a result, many cities, counties, and states are still under various forms of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. One of the most unfortunate side effects of these orders is the dramatic increase of domestic violence reports. If you feel you are in immediate danger, you should call 911 as soon as you can. The police will hopefully have enough evidence to arrest your abuser or put in motion some sort of protective order.
Sometimes, unfortunately, victims of domestic violence have to handle things in court themselves. In Florida, there are several different types of restraining orders meant to keep away threatening and/or harmful people. This blog will focus on the Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, which is a Florida-specific protective order.Domestic Violence Defined
To apply for the domestic violence injunction, you must first affirm that your abuser is a family or household member. These individuals include:
- Current and former spouses
- People related to you by blood or marriage
- Anyone with whom you have a child in common
- Those who reside with you in a common dwelling as if you and the other individual were a family
So, one of the above designations applies to your abuser. Next, you'll need to address whether or not the actions he or she took against you could be considered domestic violence. In Florida, domestic violence is defined as: "any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member."
However, you do not have to wait until a family or household member actually harms you. A judge has a good chance of granting you an injunction if you can show that you will "imminently" be a victim of domestic violence. Words alone are often not enough to clear this bar.Requesting an Injunction
To start things off, you must file a petition for injunction with the applicable circuit clerk. After submitting the relevant documents, the clerk will present the application to the judge. If the judge determines there is enough evidence to issue a temporary injunction, he or she will do so without needing to hear from your abuser. However, the temporary injunction will only last for 15 days. Within that time period, the judge will schedule a hearing with both parties. You - and, unfortunately, your abuser - will get the opportunity to present evidence before the judge considers issuing a permanent injunction. Permanent, in this case, does not mean indefinitely. You may request an extension at the end of the injunction's term, though.We Can Help With These Difficult Situations
Our firm understands the endless nuances of family law matters yet will act with urgency when your safety is at stake. We can help put you in a better position for success if you need to petition for an injunction against domestic violence. Our team is eager to take your call and discuss your options with you.