How Can I Protect Myself from Domestic Violence in Florida?
Unfortunately, there are many individuals, both men and women, who are regular victims to Domestic Violence in Florida. Victims feel shame when they find themselves in a relationship that is toxic and physically damaging. Feeling alone, these persons struggle to find a way out of the situation that they are in.
Fortunately, Florida Law contains protections for those subject to physical and sexual violence or threats of the same. There are options for victims, or those facing imminent victimhood to get assistance to protect themselves and or their children if needed. Our Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorneys can assist you, even if you are not legally married to your abuser, by helping you to file for a domestic violence injunction, which are often referred to “restraining orders.”
What Situations Qualify for a Domestic Violence
Obtaining a domestic violence injunction does not always require that a person be physically struck or beaten. Florida law covers several abuse situations that qualify you for a restraining order, such as the following:
- Physical abuse of any kind- kicking, hitting, slapping, biting, choking, hair pulling, etc.;
- Sexual abuse;
- False imprisonment, kidnapping, and removal of the ability to seek help- such as hiding or removing phones, disabling phone and internet; taking a person’s keys
- Repeated contact that serves “no legitimate purpose”
- Trespassing to areas frequented by the victim
- Threats or threatening behavior that put the recipient in fear for their safety.
How Do You Obtain a Domestic Violence Injunction?
The courts look at domestic violence as an emergency situation – i.e., one that will be processed fairly quickly in the Court system. To begin the process, an individual claiming abuse will file a Petition for Protection Against Domestic Violence. This is a fairly straightforward process whereby the abused individual receives an opportunity to outline the reasons they are in fear from the other party. Before arriving, you want to be sure to gather all relevant information - including dates of incidents, witnesses to the abuse, and any police reports. Upon filing your petition and completed your statement; your case will be given immediate consideration.
Our Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorneys can help you to file your initial petition with the proper documentation in support of your claims.
Upon receipt in the Court, a judge will review the paperwork to see if the petition meets the basic requirements, pursuant to Florida law, to issue a “temporary injunction.” The temporary order will protect you until your court hearing. The abuser is served with the order as soon as it is signed and will be unable to have any contact with you going forth. A hearing will then be held (usually in a short time – approximately 5-10 days) giving the abuser the right to challenge the order and tell their side of the story. After hearing the evidence, the court will grant a permanent order, or cancel the temporary order if they feel the evidence is insufficient.
How To Respond if I am Served with a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?
As with everything else, there are some situations when individuals seek restraining orders under false pretenses in an effort to gain some footing in a divorce or custody case. If you are served with an order, you need to immediately contact your Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorneys to begin building your rebuttal to the accusations. At your court appearance, you will have to give testimony and provide evidence showing that your accuser has filed the injunction in bad faith and or the accusations do not reach the level required to issue a ss. The court will look at the evidence presented by both parties in order to make a decision.
If you are legally married, this order can affect parenting plans, child custody and, ultimately, the final judgment. These orders can also be the source of great confusion, so it may be helpful to have an attorney explain all your rights and obligations
Contact Your Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorneys
If you are experiencing domestic violence, your first move should be to protect yourself and your children. Once you are safe, even temporarily, you should move to file for a protective order.
If you have been falsely served with a protective order, you need to move to gather evidence to prove your innocence. In either situation, contact your Virga Law Firm Tallahassee Attorneys to protect you and your family.