Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
Dealing with a domestic violence issue can be challenging and understanding the legal process for getting an injunction or restraining order to protect your from the domestic violence in Jacksonville, Florida can be key. The process does require the filing of a petition by the individual that is the victim of the violence. There are certain criteria for filing and the victim should seek immediate shelter either with a friend, family member or through the Hubbard House or other local domestic violence shelters. The Duval County Clerk of Court website has forms that can be filled out before going downtown to apply for an injunction at the domestic violence department located in the Duval County Courthouse downtown.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or you have reason to believe that you are, in fact, in immediate danger of becoming the victim of domestic violence, then you can ask for protection by filing the proper petition with the court. The petition filed requires that you provide information as to what has occurred or will most likely occur that has caused and is causing you fear of the of the person. Once you file for the injunction or restraining order, a judge will review the petition to determine whether you have established enough grounds for a temporary injunction to be granted. If it is, then the other party will be served with the information and a hearing date will be provided to each of you. The injunction that is at first granted is temporary and you will have to go to court to receive a permanent injunction/restraining order.
Domestic violence includes: assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to the petitioner by any of the petitioner’s family or household members. If you have been a victim of one of these acts, then you must state in the petition what occurred and provide details as to the occurrence. If you believe that one of these things will most likely occur, unless you receive the injunction, then you must put in the petition why you believe the harm is going to occur if you do not get the injunction.
In the petition you need to provide as much detail as possible regarding threats, the history of you and the other party (whether you resided together, history of violence, etc.), whether you or family members have been previously harmed by the other party (also known at the Respondent since you are the Petitioner), state if the Respondent has ever threatened to kidnap you or your children (if you are seeking protection for both you and your kids or only your kids), whether there have been prior acts of violence against the children, prior police involvement should be provided, and any other details that can provide the judge with information as to why you are in fear and why an injunction is necessary to protect your from domestic violence acts by the Respondent.
For example, if you live with your children and your spouse and your spouse threatens to kidnap the children after he violently abused you, then you will want to allege the details regarding the abuse and the threats that he made regarding your children and whether he has previously done something similar in nature.
The more information you can provide, the easier it is for the judge to determine if you have met the threshold for receiving the injunction.
If a temporary injunction is granted, then you cannot dismiss it on your own, you still have to appear that scheduled hearing. It is important to follow through with the procedure so that everything is properly documented with the court so that you have the best chance at being protected through any harm or threats of harm that may occur.
If the injunction is granted and the Respondent tries to contact your or shows up somewhere that she/he is not supposed to, per the order, then you should immediately contact the police.
If you are interested in receiving additional information regarding this issue and/or you need legal representation regarding your domestic violence case, then you should speak with an experienced family law attorney.