Domestic Violence Injunctions
By Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney Eduardo J. Mejias
Practicing Exclusively Family Law Since 2005
What Are Domestic Violence Injunctions?
These injunctions, commonly known as “restraining orders,” are intended to protect their victims. They cover situations of people who live or have lived in the same household. The person requesting the injunction is know as the Petitioner and the one to whom it applies is the Respondent.
The Petition For A Preliminary Injunction
As a petition for a preliminary injunction against domestic violence in Florida you only have to complete a form with the clerk of the area court. Please see Courthouse Maps. The Petitioner needs only to allege being in imminent danger of becoming a victim of this violence and does not have to pay a fee.
The Decision Of The Judge
A judge will review the petition, and without conducting a hearing, can grant a temporary domestic violence injunction. Thus, the Petitioner does not actually have to prove anything before obtaining a temporary injunction.
The Serving Of Documents
After the judge makes the decision to grant the temporary injunction, the Respondent must be served with:
- the petition,
- the order for the temporary injunction and
- a notice of the preliminary hearing.
If the judge granted the preliminary injunction, the Respondent served with these documents must then immediately vacate the residence that is shared with the Petitioner, and cannot contact the Petitioner in any way.
Even if the injunction is not expressly on behalf of the couple’s children, but just for the protection of the spouse or parent, the Respondent will be practically shut out of his life with the couple’s children. This is because the children will continue to reside only with the Petitioner, with whom the Respondent is not allowed to communicate until the next hearing.
The Injunction Hearing
The court that issued the temporary domestic violence injunction schedules a hearing within fifteen days of issuing it. This is done regardless of the judge’s decision. If the injunction is denied, the petitioner can choose to drop the petition or argue for the injunction at the hearing. The Respondent can choose to accept the injunction or object to it at the hearing.
At the hearing, the Petitioner needs to establish, by “a preponderance of the evidence” (which is a less stringent test “without a reasonable doubt”) that he or she has been a victim or is in imminent danger of being a victim of domestic violence. In that case, the judge will issue a Final Judgment of Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.
The final injunction may last indefinitely (“until further order of the court”) or for a set period of time. The judge issuing the injunction also has the discretion to:
- grant the Petitioner exclusive use or occupancy of the home,
- establish a time-sharing schedule with the children; and
- order both temporary child support and temporary alimony.
Consequences To Divorce Or Paternity Cases
Whether you are a Petitioner or a Respondent, the outcome of the Petition for a Domestic Violence Injunction will strongly influence the direction of any upcoming divorce or paternity case. This is because injunctions can be used by the Petitioner as a negotiating tool.
To some Petitioners, the injunction acts as a nice alternative to the much lengthier and costlier divorce or paternity suit (which must be filed separately). Unfortunately, the Florida domestic violence injunction statutes make it all too easy to do this. The injunction can also influence the decision of the judge in any subsequent divorce case.
The Need For a Family Attorney
It is both risky and foolish to represent yourself at a domestic violence injunction hearing. You need the expertise of someone who knows the nuances of the law and has the experience of representing many clients in these cases.
If you are a party in an upcoming hearing on a domestic violence injunction, please call AAA Family Law at (407) 260-6001, in Seminole county and schedule a free thirty-minute initial consultation. There is an hourly charge for additional consultation time. See Family Lawyer Retainer Fees.
As your family lawyer, at the consultation I will listen to the description of your situation and realistically assess it. I will then quote you a clear and fixed attorney retainer fee. Once you hire AAA Family Law, I will prepare you for the hearing to maximize your chances for a favorable outcome. Then I will keep you informed of the progress of your case by returning phone calls and emails within 24 hours.
Our attorney retention fees for domestic violence injunction hearing range between $1,000 and $1,500 depending on the complexity of the case.
We can represent you in cases of domestic violence injunctions through a trial and, if necessary, an appeal to one of the District Courts of Appeal in Florida.
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