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FAQ: Unified Family Court

Domestic/Repeat/Dating & Sexual Violence

Domestic Violence - (561) 355-4506

How is "Violence/Domestic Violence" defined in determining if I have legal rights for protection?
  • Violence includes any assault, battery, sexual battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or stalking by a person against any other person.
  • Domestic Violence includes situations where you are verbally or physically threatened, so you fear you could be immediately harmed or are in "imminent danger" of becoming a victim; any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another.
What is a Petition for Injunction (also known as a Restraining Order)?

An injunction is a court order, sometimes referred to as a Restraining Order, which directs a person not to have contact with you. The individual who files an injunction is called the "petitioner" and the party being filed against is called the called the "respondent".

What are the different types of injunctions (also known as restraining orders)?
  • Domestic Violence (Florida Statutes 741.28 - 741.31)
    • Spouse or former spouse
    • Persons related by blood or marriage
    • Persons living together as husband and wife or as a family
    • Person with whom you have had a child together, even if you have never lived together
  • Repeat Violence (Florida Statutes 784.046)
    • Persons not related by blood or marriage (i.e., neighbor)
    • Persons who have never lived together as a family
    • Repeat violence involves two (2) incidents of violence or stalking, one of which occurred within six (6) months from the filing of the petition.
  • Dating Violence (Florida Statutes 784.046)
    • Individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature within the last six months
  • Sexual Violence (Florida Statutes 794.046, & chapters 787, 800 & 827)
    • Persons involved in sexually lewd acts, including any forcible felonies
    • The sexual violence must have been reported to a law enforcement agency.
  • Stalking/Cyberstalking (Florida Statute 748.048)
What will an Injunction for Protection (also known as a restraining order) do for you?

It will legally prevent an alleged abuser (the respondent) from committing any further acts of violence to you or from threatening you, or stalking you.

Depending on the situation, an injunction may:

  • Restrain the respondent from going to, in or within 500 feet of petitioner's residence, place of employment, place of school, or places you and your family frequent
  • Provide no contact between the parties, in any manner
  • Require the respondent to attend counseling, treatment or a batterer's intervention program
  • Require the respondent not to possess a firearm or to surrender any firearms to law enforcement
  • Provide you sole possession of a dwelling you and respondent shared
  • Address awarding temporary custody of any minor child between the parties, visitation of the child, and child support
  • Address support for petitioner (alimony)
Is there a fee for filing an Injunction of Protection?

There is no filing fee for Protection against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, or stalking/cyberstalking.

How do I file an Injunction?
What information is helpful in filing a Petition for Injunction?
  • Police reports or referral card furnished to you by the law enforcement officer (if any were provided to you)
  • Driver's license or identification that includes your picture and signature (required)
  • Specific dates of abuse or threats of abuse
  • Specific locations where abuse or threats occurred
  • Mailing address of a friend or relative if you choose to keep your residence address confidential as provided by law
  • Picture of respondent to provide to Sheriff's Office

You will also need the following information:

  • Full legal name of respondent (alleged abuser)
  • Physical description of respondent, including height, weight, scars, date of birth, etc.
  • Current residence address of respondent, telephone number, driver's license number and social security number, if possible
  • Respondent's employer and employer's address and phone number, if possible.
  • Respondent's vehicle information including make, model, color, year and tag number
How long does the process take?

The court will review your petition and you will receive an answer that day (granting, denying, and/or setting your case for hearing).

What are other steps in the legal process?

As petitioner (the person filing), you will be sworn under oath as to the truthfulness of the allegations of abuse entered on your petition, under the penalty of perjury.

The court will review your petition, and based on the allegations determine to:

  • Grant a Temporary Injunction, and grant some or all requests
  • Deny the Petition for Injunction, or
  • Set the matter for a hearing to determine if an injunction will be entered

If the court grants the injunction:

  • There will be a hearing on the extension of that injunction generally within 15 days from the date the Temporary Injunction was issued.
  • The clerk will forward the Temporary Injunction to the Sheriff's office that has jurisdiction over where the respondent may be found.
What if the respondent is outside the State of Florida?

You must provide the following information to the Clerk & Comptroller's office:

  • Name, address, and phone number of the sheriff's department that has jurisdiction over where the respondent may be found
  • You must pay for any service fees required by the sheriff outside the state of Florida.
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