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Civil injunctions and domestic violence in Florida

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Firm News

When a person is subject to domestic violence, they can ask the court for help. In Florida, the way a person would go about doing that is by requesting an injunction, also known as a restraining order, that helps protect them from threats or acts of violence from another person.

In domestic relations, a person may file a petition for four different civil injunctions:

  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Dating violence
  • Repeat violence

Each of these injunctions has requirements that depend on the relationship that the person filing has with the other individual, and the circumstances that are leading the person to file for an injunction.

Domestic violence

A person can petition for a domestic violence civil injunction against someone who has lived with them, now or in the past, as family. In this context, family refers to those who are married, have children together, or are in a close relationship but are not blood relatives.

Domestic violence acts include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Offenses resulting in physical injury or death
  • Other specific crimes

If the court grants an individual a domestic violence injunction against another person, it:

  • Keeps the accused from committing violent acts
  • Can award temporary exclusive use of the house they share
  • Address matters related to financial help
  • Address matters related to child visitation
  • Order the accused to take part in a violence intervention class
  • Require the accused to surrender weapons

Sexual violence

With injunctions for sexual violence:

  • The relationship between the parties does not meet the definition of “family” under the requirements above, and
  • The accused commits an act of sexual violence, for example: sexual battery, certain inappropriate acts upon or in the presence of a child younger than 16, luring a child, requiring a child to do certain sexual acts or committing a felony in which a forced sexual act was part of it or the accused person attempted to do it, and
  • The victim reported the incidents to police and cooperated with them in the case, or
  • The person accused is or was imprisoned for being sexually violent against the victim and they are getting out of prison within the next 90 days.

Dating violence

To ask the court for a dating violence injunction, the petitioner must have:

  • Dated the person they accuse during the last six months, and
  • They had an expectation to continue being with them, and
  • They interacted with the person they accused frequently during their relationship.

The court requires all three to be true for it to grant a civil injunction for dating violence.

Repeat violence

If the situation of the person who is asking the court for help does not fall under the previous three categories, they can ask the court for an injunction against repeat violence.

For example, this can be an issue with a neighbor, a co-worker or classmate, a student or relative who never lived with the petitioner, thus, does not qualify as family and other unusual cases.

For this type of injunction, there must be at least two incidents of physical violence, threats to be violent, or stalking on the part of the accused, and one of these must have happened in the last six months.

What happens next?

After you ask the court for help, you or your attorney (if you have one) will speak with the court about your circumstances and show the proof that you have.

Then, the court will decide whether to grant any of these four civil injunctions. If the court decides for the petitioner, the judge will order the accused to have no contact with the victim.

The accused might also need to adhere to additional requirements that they must carefully read and follow exactly as the court specifies.