In Florida, temporary protective orders — known as injunctions — are used to protect victims of domestic abuse and violence. These official orders issued by the court are intended to prevent individuals accused of domestic violence from causing further harm by ordering them to stay away from and not contact the person who requested the order. There are four main types of injunctive relief, depending on the circumstances of the violence alleged and the relationship between the victim and defendant:
- Domestic Violence: This refers to acts of violence between spouses, former spouses, people related by blood or marriage, people currently living together or who formerly lived together as a family, and parents whether they have been married or not. With the exception of people who share a child, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same house.
- Repeat Violence: A person who does not fit into a domestic relationship as outlined above can qualify for this form of relief if she has been the victim of two incidents of violence or stalking (one of which must have occurred within the previous six months).
- Dating Violence: This form of relief can be sought for violence against one of two people in a romantic and intimate relationship that occurred in the previous six months.
- Sexual Violence: For those seeking this injunction, the relationship in which the violence allegedly occurred must have been sexual in nature. No prior romantic relationship is required.
To obtain a protective order, victims must file a petition with the court. If the court finds that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, it may grant a temporary injunction ex parte, pending a full hearing. They can do this solely based on the allegations within the petition and attached affidavits. No additional evidence, such as pictures or testimony, is required.
If granted, the temporary injunction cannot last longer than 15 days, and a full hearing date must be set within that 15-day period. The court can continue the hearing date for good cause, but if that’s done, the injunction will be extended accordingly. Once the judge grants the temporary injunction and sets the hearing date, a sheriff serves the order on the respondent.
Injunctions are civil actions and must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence at the final hearing. Both sides will have the opportunity to present evidence and argue their case. The court will either dismiss the case or keep the order in place for a specified amount of time.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence seeking a protective order in Florida or have been served with a temporary injunction, it’s essential to contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. provides the prompt legal support you need to keep you safe. Call us at 305-670-8656 or contact us online to arrange a consultation at our Miami office.