Unfortunately, domestic violence is a serious issue for many people. In the state of Florida, victims of domestic violence may be able to obtain a restraining order against their abuser. According to the Family Violence Law Center website, a restraining order is a court order that acts to protect a victim from being abused, threatened, stalked, or harassed. Depending on the circumstances, it may also act to award a victim with custody of any minor children, order visitation and child support, issue court orders with relation to pets and property, and may even require the abuser to move out of a shared residence. A civil restraining order may be beneficial even if a victim has already obtained a criminal protective order, since the civil order can be in effect for a longer period of time, and may address different types of protection.
Eligibility for a Restraining Order
Those who are eligible for protection under a restraining order include victims who have been abused by a relative or other person with whom they have a close relationship. For purposes of obtaining a restraining order, a close relationship can include people who are currently or formerly involved in a romantic relationship, are married, divorced, or separated, or are registered domestic partners. The definition of relatives includes parents, children, siblings, grandparents, or in-laws. People who are just friends or roommates would likely not meet the close relationship requirement.
Obtaining a Restraining Order
In order to obtain a civil restraining order against an abuser in the state of Florida, the victim must be at least 12 years old to do so on their own. A victim can employ the services of an attorney to file the appropriate paperwork in court, as well as appear with them in Court to have their request granted after a hearing. It is important to act quickly and take the appropriate steps when attempting to obtain a restraining order to ensure the victim’s safety.
Once the paperwork for a restraining order is filed, a judge may grant the victim’s request for protection. This will result in a temporary restraining order taking effect for about three weeks, until a hearing on the matter is scheduled. At that point, a hearing is held to determine whether a permanent restraining order will be issued, which can last up to five years. During the hearing, both parties will have an opportunity to be heard by the court.
An abuser can violate a restraining order by acting in any way that is in opposition to a specific instruction contained in the order itself. This can include, but is not limited to, contacting the victim directly or indirectly, continuing to engage in stalking, harassing, or abusive behavior, or visiting a location that was prohibited by the order of protection. While violating a civil restraining order is not considered a crime, it is considered contempt of court, which is punishable by imprisonment or the imposition of fines.
Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about or are interested in obtaining a restraining order in the state of Florida, the experienced attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. are prepared to assist you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We have offices located in Dade, Broward, and Monroe counties.