AAA Family Law Serves the Orlando Metro Area
from Altamonte Springs
Domestic Violence Injunctions
The Six Things You Need to Know
Domestic violence injunctions, commonly known as “restraining orders,” were 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.
I. The Petition
To petition for a preliminary injunction against domestic violence in the Orlando metro area you only have to complete a form with the clerk of the area courts. See Courthouse Maps. The Petitioner needs only to allege being in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence and does not have to pay a fee.
II. 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.
III. The Serving of Papers
After the judge makes the decision, the Respondent must be served with:
(1) a petition,
(2) an order for the temporary injunction, and
(3) 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 domestic violence 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.
IV. The Hearing
The court that issued the temporary injunction schedules a hearing within fifteen days of issuing the injunction. This is done regardless of the judge’s decision. Of course, 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/she 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 duration (such as, six months). The judge issuing the injunction also has the discretion to:
(1) grant the Petitioner exclusive use or occupancy of the home,
(2) establish a time-sharing schedule with the children, and
(3) order both temporary child support and temporary alimony.
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.
VI What You Need to Do
It is both risky and foolish to represent yourself at and 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, LLC, and schedule a 30-minute consultation. I will prepare you for this hearing, and maximize your chances for a favorable outcome.
If you need representation in an Orlando area domestic violence case, pleaseContact us to make an appointment for a 30-minute consultation.
Mr. Mejias has eight years of experience as a Florida family law and domestic violence attorney,
and has been representing clients in Orlando domestic violence cases for the last two years.
The great majority of clients are charged a fixed retainer fee that you will know before deciding to sign with AAA Family
Office phone: (407) 260-6001
Mon-Fri 9 am to 5 pm, or Sat 12 pm to 5 pm
AAA Family Law is conveniently close to the following Central Florida cities and unincorporated areas of Orange and Seminole counties:
Longwood, Apopka, Wekiva Springs, Casselberry, Maitland, Winter Park, Lockhart, Altamonte Springs, Orlando, Oviedo, Lake Mary, Eatonville, Holden Heights, Goldenrod, Winter Springs, Sanford, Pine Hills, Oriovista, and Fairview Shores.