How to File a Restraining Order in Florida

By Joseph Nicholson

The legal term for a restraining order in Florida is "Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence," and anyone who is the victim of domestic violence, male or female, is eligible to get one free of charge.

Understand the qualifications. To get a restraining order, or injunction, you must be the victim of domestic violence, but this is not limited to acts between a man and wife or partner. Domestic violence is any incidence of assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or physical harm caused by any other household member. Having good reason to fear any of these will occur is also grounds to obtain an injunction.

Get help. If at all possible, see a lawyer or legal professional to guide you through the process of obtaining a restraining order. Though this is not strictly necessary, it can be helpful in an already stressful situation, and can ensure the process moves as quickly as possible.

Visit the courthouse. As many as three counties can have concurrent jurisdiction to grant an injunction, any one of which will do. The injunction must be granted by the county court where the violence occurred, where the victim resides or where the offender resides.

Talk to the clerk. The courthouse can be an intimidating place, but it should be fairly easy to find the clerk. In large counties, the clerk's office will have multiple teller windows. Visit one and request an Injunction of Protection Against Domestic Violence petition.

Fill out the petition and get it notarized. The more information you can provide about the incident(s) that qualify you to receive injunction protection, and on how the court can locate the abuser, the better. Do not sign the petition until you're in the presence of the court clerk or a notary.

About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.

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