Domestic Violence Injunctions
A domestic violence injunction is available when there has been domestic violence, or if you have "reasonable cause" to believe you are in imminent danger of suffering domestic violence. Domestic violence includes physical violence and can also include threats of violence, and stalking. There are injunctions available also against cyber-stalking.
The court process starts by going in person to the Domestic Violence unit at the courthouse and completing the paperwork to request a temporary restraining order, or by "efiling" your pleadings through the State of Florida Eportal. It is also possible to have an attorney prepare and efile the pleadings for you.
If you file early enough in the day, the request will be reviewed by the Judge that day and the Judge can enter a temporary restraining order; and a hearing day and time will be scheduled to determine whether to issue a permanent injunction. If you need to file for an injunction after the Courthouse closes during the weekend or holidays, there is a process for filing after hours – for example, in Broward County, currently call Women in Distress of Broward County, Crisis Line at 954-761-1133. If you go to the domestic violence section of the Clerk of Court’s website for the county you are in, you can find further instructions.
A person is not required to have an attorney to file for a restraining order, and the domestic violence unit at the courthouse will help you prepare the paperwork you need. There are victim advocates and domestic violence programs in each county - Broward, Dade, Palm Beach counties. Information for the courthouse domestic violence units for each county can be found at - Broward, Dade, Palm Beach.
The hearing to determine whether a permanent injunction will be issued is basically a trial, which is scheduled on rush basis, usually very quickly after the temporary restraining order is issued, e.g. in two to three weeks. Bringing your witnesses, evidence and preparing your questions to ask for direct and cross-examination are all important. At the permanent injunction hearing, both sides are given an opportunity to present their case, and the Judge will make a decision based on what he or she hears at the hearing.
Something else to remember is that in addition to entering a restraining order at a domestic violence hearing, the court can also enter orders regarding exclusive use and occupancy of the home and regarding Time-sharing and Parental Responsibility (i.e. custody of children), at both the temporary and permanent injunction hearings; and at the hearing regarding a permanent injunction the judge can enter orders providing for payment of Spousal Support (Temporary Alimony) and payment of Child Support, health insurance, and medical and other expenses.
If there is a divorce case also pending or that is filed, the domestic violence case will be transferred to the Judge who is hearing the divorce, and both cases will be handled by the same Judge. It is also possible to obtain something called a No-Contact Order in a divorce. An injunction, however, can provide stronger enforcement because it can be enforced on the spot by the Sherriff’s office, by the Deputy arresting someone who is violating an injunction.
Call me at (954) 636-7498 or use the contact form on the website, and we can discuss you case.