Domestic Violence Injunctions
Under Florida law, anyone who claims to be a victim of domestic violence or who has reason to believe that he or she is imminent danger of becoming a victim of an act of domestic violence can petition a court for the issuance of an injunction for protection, a document that is also known as a restraining order.
These orders can require the respondent in question to comply with a wide range of conditions, including a prohibition against having contact with the petitioner, staying away from a shared residence, surrendering any firearms, and giving up temporary custody of any shared children. These prohibitions can have serious consequences for those who are unfairly accused of domestic violence, as they may be required to find a new residence and be barred from seeing their own children. For help ensuring that you do not become the unfair recipient of a restraining order, please contact our dedicated domestic violence legal team today.
Filing a Petition
Upon the filing of a petition for a domestic violence injunction, a court will set a hearing to decide the merits of the request. If, however, the court believes that there is an immediate and present danger to the petitioner, it does have discretion to grant a temporary injunction ex parte that:
- Restrains the respondent from committing acts of domestic violence;
- Awards the petitioner the temporary, but exclusive use of a couple’s dwelling; and
- Provides the petitioner with a temporary parenting plan, in which the petitioner is given up to 100 percent of time-sharing rights.
When granting a temporary injunction ex parte, judges only assess verified pleadings and affidavits. Furthermore, these injunctions are only effective for up to 15 days, at which point, the court must schedule a full hearing.
Setting a Hearing
Once a court has received a petition for an injunction and has deemed that there is no imminent risk of harm to the petitioner, or the 15 day ex parte order has expired, it will schedule a full hearing. At the hearing, the judge will be tasked with making a determination after taking testimony from the parties and any witnesses and assessing any other evidence presented to the court.
If granted, a permanent restraining order will remain in effect until:
- It is changed or ended by the judge at either party’s request;
- After notice and a hearing on the matter have been conducted; or
- A specific date set by the judge.
Permanent injunctions can cover a wide range of conditions, including:
- Contact with the petitioner, including visiting the petitioner’s home or workplace;
- Custody and visitation;
- Child support;
- A prohibition against carrying firearms; and
- A requirement that the respondent attend a batterers’ intervention program.
Respondents who fail to abide by these terms could face sanctions from the court, in addition to imprisonment.
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