If you or your children are in danger from a spouse, intimate partner, roommate, or blood relative, you need to do whatever it takes to protect yourself, your family, and your assets.
There are many ways to take action and escape domestic violence, and lots of people and organizations out there willing to help. In addition to finding resources, consulting financial advisers, and hiring a lawyer, one of the smartest things you can do right at the beginning is to file a restraining order against the individual who is threatening or abusing you.
What Is a Restraining Order?
You’ve probably heard of restraining orders before, but you may not know exactly how they work. Also known as injunctions, restraining orders are legal orders that require a certain distance between the recipient of the order and the person who filed it (i.e. a boyfriend is legally required to stay at least 500 yards away from his girlfriend). Restraining orders can be filed against anyone, including significant others, exes, family members, and even complete strangers.
If someone has a restraining order out against them and they break the terms of the order, they will face criminal penalties. Terms of a restraining order may include:
- Staying a specified distance away from the victim
- Staying a specified distance away from the victim’s work, school, or family members
- Moving out of the home/dwelling that the abuser/victim share
- Contacting the victim
- Surrendering firearms and weapons
To file a restraining order, you must go to a courthouse in the county where you currently live, your abuser lives, or the county where you were abused.
What Do You Need to File a Restraining Order?
There is no fee necessary to file a restraining order, but you will have to provide a photo ID. Additionally, a lawyer is not required to file the restraining order, but consulting one throughout the process will benefit you.
The paperwork necessary to get an injunction can be confusing and it requires you to answer very specific questions. Having a knowledgeable Florida family lawyer review the paperwork as you complete it will help you avoid mistakes and obtain a restraining order quickly.
What Information Do You Need to Get an Injunction?
Before a permanent restraining order is placed on an abuser, a temporary injunction will be granted. This injunction, which last 15 days, keeps the victim out of danger until a proper hearing can be held. Judges grant temporary injunctions based on the paperwork given. If the injunction is denied, you may file a petition for a full hearing to fight for an injunction.
If a temporary injunction is granted, you will have – at most – 15 days before your hearing.
What Information Do You Need For Your Hearing?
You must show up to the hearing in order for the permanent restraining order to be granted. The abuser may not show up. If this happens, it is possible that the hearing could be postponed. In this case, it is necessary to ask for the temporary injunction to be extended.
At the hearing, you need to provide evidence that your abuser has, and continues to, put you in imminent danger. Evidence may include:
- Witness testimony from friends, family members, neighbors, roommates, etc.
- Photos of past abuse
- Police reports related to domestic violence
- Medical reports
During the hearing, a judge may also ask you about what kind of injunction you want placed, and how long you would like it to last. These orders can be permanent (although they may be revoked or changed later on).