domestic violence

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in Florida: When Is It Time to file?

When a partner becomes physically violent, it may be necessary to seek legal protection. Domestic violence is a serious issue, and sometimes a restraining order is a necessary safety measure. 

Here’s an overview of who can file a domestic violence injunction order (also called a restraining order) in Florida and how to know when it’s time.

Types of Restraining Orders for Domestic Violence in Florida

The state of Florida offers six different types of restraining orders (injunctions). These are intended to offer legal protection in a number of different situations. When domestic violence is an issue, you’ll need to apply for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. 

To qualify for this type of restraining order, you’ll need to provide a statement explaining the type of domestic violence that occurred. Florida law defines domestic violence as: 

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • Causing death or injury to another in the household 

If any of these acts were committed against you, you have sufficient grounds for filing a Florida domestic violence restraining order. Taking legal action to enforce distance between you and your abuser may be a necessary step to prevent the abuse from happening again. 

Who can file a restraining order?

Domestic violence restraining orders are typically only available to members of a shared household. Most often, they are filed against an intimate partner. 

If domestic violence has been committed, you can file a restraining order if you and the other person are: 

  • Married or registered domestic partners
  • Separated or divorced
  • Dating or dated in the past
  • Living together or lived together in the past
  • Co-parenting the same child or children

If one parent has committed domestic violence against their child, the other parent can file for a restraining order on the child’s behalf. Certain other close family relationships may also qualify. These extend to grandparents, siblings, and in-law relationships. 

If your abuser is not a member of your household or a close family member, you probably don’t meet the criteria for a domestic violence restraining order. However, Florida law does have other types of restraining orders that provide injunctive relief including but not limited to, the protection against dating violence, stalking, sexual violence, elder abuse, exploitation of a vulnerable adult, repeat violence, and other civil protection restraining orders. 

What happens after filing a restraining order for Domestic Violence?

After a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence is filed with the court, the other party will be served notice of the restraining order. In domestic violence cases, service is handled by law enforcement.

The Court may issue and immediate Temporary Injunction against the other person, if the court determines the person is in imminent danger of harm if the court does not issue a Temporary Injunction. Whether a temporary Injunction is issued by the court, you can expect to receive a court date, and you’ll have to appear in court. There are many benefits to working with a lawyer during the restraining order process. A lawyer will advise you on what to say and do. They’ll also do most of the speaking in court on your behalf.

The restraining order will prohibit the other person from contacting you directly or through a third party and will ban them from coming to your home or workplace. If the order is violated, they’ll go to jail. 

A typical term for a restraining order is one year. If the other party violates the order or there are other issues, you may have grounds to extend the restraining.

The thought of legal proceedings and court appearances may seem daunting. However, domestic violence is a serious issue and can escalate to severe injury or death. If it happens once, it’s likely to happen again. If you’ve experienced domestic violence, a restraining order may be a necessary step toward your future safety and happiness.

Fortunately, a family law attorney can help your through this troubling situation. Reach out to the team at Patriot Legal Group to learn more or to explore your options.