3 commonly asked questions about restraining orders

Data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 20 individuals suffer abuse from a significant other each minute in the U.S. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were over 105,00 reported domestic violence offenses in Florida alone in 2019.

If you are a victim of domestic violence still suffering harassment from your abuser, one legal option available to you is to file for a restraining order. Also referred to as an injunction, this is a legal order that forbids the perpetrator from doing certain actions such as coming within a set distance of you and contacting you.

1. Who qualifies to file for a restraining order?

You may petition for one if you are a victim of domestic violence. You may also do so if a judge deems you at immediate risk of becoming one.

2. How do you obtain a restraining order?

Fill out the petition (documents available online) for the type of injunction you want and then file it at your county’s courthouse in person or virtually through the Florida Courts e-filing portal. After the paperwork is complete and filed, the court schedules an initial hearing where it may grant you a temporary injunction that lasts 15 days. You must then attend another court hearing where the judge decides whether or not to give you a final one.

3. Is it expensive to file for a restraining order?

You do not have to pay anything to file an injunction. Fees only arise if you decide on legal counsel, which is not a requirement but may be beneficial.

A restraining order helps protect you from your abuser’s or stalker’s unwanted attention. Note that there is more than one kind of protective injunction in Florida and you may qualify for one if not the other.

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