When papers are filed in a court requesting an Injunction for Protection, the court hearing will usually be held about 15 days later. The paperwork filed in court by the person seeking an injunction is called a PETITION. The following timeline is a general example of how the court process works in injunction for protection cases.
The injunction process begins when a Petitioner files for an injunction at one of the intake locations. The Intake Unit staff will help Petitioners complete all the necessary paperwork required, including a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence or Stalking. Petitioners are asked to review the typed petition, swear to the truth of the allegations stated in it, and then sign the petition.
The petition will then be given to a judge for review. Based on the law in Florida, the judge will either GRANT or DENY the petition that same day. The Clerk's Office will inform the Petitioner of the judge's decision.
The Temporary Injunction:
If the Petition for an injunction for protection is GRANTED by the Judge:
If the judge decides the sworn allegations contained in the paperwork meet the requirements of Florida law for the issuance of an injunction, the judge will enter a Temporary Injunction, which will be valid for 15 days and set for hearing within those 15 days. The Temporary Injunction, if issued, will require the respondent to have no contact with the person filing the injunction (the petitioner), stay away from the petitioner's home and workplace, vacate a shared residence, award temporary custody of minor children in common and require the surrender of firearms. The Petitioner will receive two (2) certified copies of the Temporary Injunction.
If the Petition for an injunction for protection is DENIED by the Judge:
There are circumstances where the Judge denies the request for a temporary injunction but where the Petitioner may still request a hearing where the Petitioner and the Respondent will appear before a judge. In these cases the Judge will sign an Order to Appear and a hearing will be set in approximately 15 days. The Petitioner will receive two (2) certified copies of your Order to Appear for Hearing.
Service of paperwork: As required by Florida law, all respondents must be personally served with the temporary injunction or the order to appear, along with a copy of the Petition, by a law enforcement officer. The clerk’s office will forward the Temporary Injunction or Order to Appear paperwork to the Sheriff's Office where an officer will attempt to personally serve the person who the Petiiton for Injunction is filed against (the respondent) with the injunction or order to appear for hearing paperwork. Until respondent is personally served with the paperwork, the Judge cannot go forward with the final hearing as descried below. If respondent has not been served by the time of the final hearing, the case will be reset to allow for such service. Any temporary injunction in place, will be extended until the following court date by the Judge.
Checking for Service: Petitioner’s may check for service of the injunction or order to appear by calling the Sheriff’s Civil Process Bureau at (305)375-5100. They are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Please Note: Cases will not be automatically reset if there is no service. Petitioners must appear in court the date of the hearing to request an extension of the injunction or contact the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5556 BEFORE the hearing date to obtain information on how to have the case reset in their absence.
At the court hearing, which is scheduled within 15 days from the date the petition was filed, the judge will decide whether to grant a Permanent Injunction after taking testimony from the parties and witnesses, and considering any evidence which is presented. At this hearing, the judge may: (1) dismiss the Temporary Injunction; (2) extend the Temporary Injunction for a period of another fifteen (15) days for good cause (for example, no service on respondent); or (3) issue a Permanent Injunction.
If a Permanent Injunction is granted, it will be effective until it is changed or ended by the judge at either party's request, after notice and hearing, or until a specific expiration date set by the judge (i.e., 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, indefinitely, etc.). The Permanent Injunction can require the respondent to have no contact with the petitioner, stay away from the petitioner's home and workplace, award time sharing, child and spousal support, and require the surrender of firearms. The Permanent Injunction can also order the respondent to attend a batterers' intervention program. Petitioners and children can be referred to support groups and counseling programs, free of charge.