IF YOU NEED PROTECTION RIGHT NOW, YOU SHOULD CALL 911. You can also call:
  • The 24-Hour Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 500-1119
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE
  • A local law enforcement agency
    - Safespace Shelter North at (305) 758-2546
    - Safespace Shelter South at (305) 247-4249
    - The Lodge at (305) 693-1170
Before you go to court to start an Injunction for Protection case, also known as a restraining order case, you can learn more about the court and your situation.

An injunction, also called a restraining order, is a court order that directs a person not to have any contact with another person. The person seeking the injunction is called the PETITIONER. The person against whom the injunction is requested is called the RESPONDENT.

For the person to be restrained (respondent), the injunction issued against him or her can include the following provisions, in addition to the prohibition against contacting petitioner:

  • He or she will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things.
  • He or she might have to move out of his or her home.
  • It may temporarily affect his or her ability to see his or her children.
  • He or she will not be allowed to own or possess firearms or ammunition. He or she may have to turn in or sell any firearms and ammunition they have now, and may not be able to buy a gun while the injunction is in effect.
  • He or she may be ordered to attend classes for batterers, substance abuse, and/or mental health.
If the person to be restrained violates the conditions of the injunction, he or she can be arrested.

For additional information, please see the Informational Brochure for Petitioners here.

For an overview of the process to obtain an injunction please also see the following video here.

The purpose of this section is to provide basic information on the five different types of injunctions available to petitioners in Florida. It is not designed to give legal advice or be a substitute for Florida law.

A person may qualify for an injunction if they are a victim of violence or stalking or fear that they are in imminent danger of becoming a victim. There are different kinds of injunctions. Each type is used for a different situation. Florida law provides 5 types of civil protective injunctions: Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, and Stalking.

1. Domestic Violence:

  • To protect an adult or minor child from violence by family or household members
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • A parent may seek an injunction against the other parent of a child in common, whether or not they ever married or lived together.
  • Petitioner must either be a victim of domestic violence or reasonably believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim.
  • Requires the court to address child support and time-sharing if minor children are involved and petitioner requests it.
  • Requires filing of additional documents if minor children are involved so issues regarding support and time-sharing can be addressed.

2. Repeat Violence

  • To protect an adult or minor child or from repeated violence or stalking
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Requires at least two separate incidents of violence or stalking.
  • Requires one of the incidents to have been within 6 months of filing of petition.
  • Stalking requires repeated following or harassing, not just one incident.
  • Requires actual acts of violence or stalking, not just a threat to do same.

3. Dating Violence

  • To protect an adult or minor child from dating violence
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Petitioner must be a victim of an act of dating violence and must reasonably believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim again or
  • Petitioner must reasonably believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim.
  • Requires a dating relationship between the parties within past 6 months.
  • Requires that relationship to have an expectation of affection or sexual involvement.
  • Does not apply to casual acquaintances, including those in a business or social context.

4. Sexual Violence

  • To protect an adult or minor child from sexual violence
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Requires the adult petitioner to be a victim of sexual battery or any other forcible felony where a sexual act is committed or attempted.
  • Requires the minor child petitioner to be a victim of a lewd or sexually indecent act in his or her presence; or
  • Requires luring or enticing of the child; or
  • Requires sexual performance by the child.
  • Requires a sexual violence victim to have reported sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and to cooperate in any criminal proceeding, regardless of the status of any criminal charges based on the sexual violence; or
  • Requires the offender sentenced to prison for the sexual violence, to either have been released or due to be released within 90 days.

5. Stalking

  • To protect an adult or minor child from stalking or harassment
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Requires the offender to repeatedly follow, harass or cyberstalk.
  • Cyberstalking means stalking done electronically.
  • Requires a credible verbal or nonverbal threat of stalking, including threats made by electronic communication or implied from behavior.
  • Requires a course of conduct directed at petitioner which causes him or her substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose.

There are several court intake locations in Miami-Dade County where Intake Unit staff is available to assist persons with filing for an injunction. They will also help with referrals to social service agencies in the community, safety planning, and procedural information about the court process. There are procedures in place which make it possible to obtain an injunction in Miami-Dade County 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you need to file for an injunction, you can go to one of the five intake locations listed below. Upon arrival at one of the intake locations, a counselor will assist you in the process of obtaining an injunction. If you have any questions, please call the domestic violence intake unit of the clerk’s office at (305) 349-5813 between 8AM and 5PM, or the 24-Hour Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 500-1119.

Upon arrival at the intake units you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire before meeting with an intake counselor. If you would like to fill out the questionnaire before going to the intake unit, the questionnaire is available online here.

PLEASE NOTE: You DO NOT need an attorney to file an injunction for protection case. An interpreter will be provided to you if you do not speak English.

Locations

Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center

175 NW 1st Avenue, Mezzanine (M) Floor

Miami, FL. 33128

Telephone: (305) 349-5813

South Dade Justice Center

10710 SW 211 St. Rm. 1500

Miami, FL. 33189

Telephone: (305) 252-5807

North Dade Justice Center

15555 Biscayne Blvd. Rm. 216

Miami, FL. 33160

Telephone: (305) 354-8736

Hialeah Courthouse

11 E. 6 St. Rm. 100

Hialeah, FL. 33010

Telephone: (305) 520-4031

Coordinated Victims Assistance Center (CVAC)

2400 S. Dixie Hwy.,

Miami, Florida 33133

Telephone: (305) 285-5900

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 for injunction. The following timeline is a general example of how the court process works in injunction for protection cases.

Filing:

The injunction process begins when a Petitioner files for an injunction at one of the intake locations listed above. 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.

The Hearing:

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.

If you know you have a scheduling conflict and will not be able to attend your court hearing on the date it is set for, or if you have an emergency issue you need the Judge to address immediately, you can write a letter to the judge asking for a new hearing date (this letter is also referred to as a MOTION). The motion can be submitted as follows:

  • Filed personally at the clerks office at any of the 4 courthouse intake locations and/or where the court date is scheduled;
  • Faxed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5559; or
  • Emailed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at dvmotions@jud11.flcourts.org.

If you would like to get your Temporary Injunction dismissed, you must tell the judge at the time of your hearing. Unless it is an emergency, the judge will not consider dismissing the injunction before the hearing date. You should appear in court on your hearing date and explain why you no longer need this protection from the court.

Additionally, if you realize that you have missed your court date, immediately write a letter to the judge asking for a new hearing date and submit as instructed above.

Please include your name, your case number, judge's name, and phone number where you can be contacted (unless it is confidential) on your motion or letter. If you have any questions, call the Domestic Violence Court Unit to speak to your judge's Case Manager at (305) 349-5556.

Please click here to download a motion form.

No filing fees are required to file for a petition for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking. There may be fees associated with referrals made by the court if an injunction is issued after the final hearing.

Handling a court case can be difficult and confusing. For this reason, many people consider getting expert help. For additional information and services you can contact the Coordinated Victims Assistance Center here.

You must go to the hearing in order to get a decision about your injunction for protection. If you do not appear at the hearing and have not communicated with the court as to why you are not present, your case will likely be dismissed. Hearings take place in a courtroom before a judge. These hearings are often very short (sometimes as little as 15 minutes), so you really need to plan ahead if you want to give the judge your information before he or she makes a decision. Take all of the documents that will be needed to show to the judge.

NOTE: If you are worried about your safety at court, you can tell the judge’s bailiff and they will assist you.

Be on time to court. Allow extra time for traffic or other possible delays. (If you are delayed or unable to attend the hearing due to a car breakdown, sudden illness, or other emergency, contact the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5556, the clerks office at (305)349-5813 or the Judge’s office on or before your hearing time.)

Witnesses: If you intend to call witnesses, make sure your witnesses know where to go and at what time. If you intend to call witnesses (other than you and the other side), you must arrange for your witnesses to be present at court. If your witness does not want to voluntarily attend the hearing, you can request a subpoena from the clerk's office to require the witness to appear at the hearing.

Additionally, if your child has important information about the violence or threats, ask the clerk’s office about how to have the judge hear from your child.

Children in common with the other party: If you and the other side have any child(ren) in common and there is no court order addressing time sharing and/or child support, the court will likely address these issues at the hearing if an injunction is granted. In certain situations the court may address these issues even if the parties are not married.

If you are asking for child support specifically, you must also bring:

  • Your last three pay stubs;
  • Your most recent tax returns; and
  • Proof of childcare or health care expenses for the child (such as receipts and canceled checks.)

Children in the courtroom: Children are not allowed in the courtrooms or in the waiting areas outside of the courtrooms. If you cannot arrange for someone to watch your child(ren) while you go to court, please inquire as to whether the courthouse you are appearing at has childcare available. Learn about Court Care service here.

Interpreters: If you do not speak English and need the services of an interpreter for the hearing, one will be provided to you by the court. Please inform the bailiff when checking in that you will need an interpreter.

Please include your name, your case number, judge's name, and phone number where you can be contacted (unless it is confidential) on your motion or letter. If you have any questions, call the Domestic Violence Court Unit to speak to your judge's Case Manager at (305) 349-5556.

Recording of hearings: The Court is required by law to record all hearings where a Domestic Violence or Stalking Petition is filed. Although not required by law, the court also records hearings where a Repeat Violence, Dating Violence or Sexual Violence petitions are filed. Transcripts of these hearings are available at a charge upon request.

For an overview of the injunction for protection hearing please see the following video:

Please note: The above video and the following are general guidelines.

When you arrive for your hearing, please check in with court personnel. Usually the Judge’s bailiff will be outside the courtroom at a podium with a list of the cases scheduled before the judge that day.

  • If the person to be restrained is also at the court, and you are worried about your safety, tell the bailiff or court staff so that they can help you.
  • After you have checked in, take a seat and wait until your case is called.
  • Do not talk to, confront, or argue with the restrained person if you see him or her.

When your case is called, you will be asked to come up to the tables in front of the judge and sit facing the judge. The judge will then ask each of you to give your name for the court record. At this point, many judges will ask a few questions to help them understand what has happened. Since the hearing is the result of the Petitioner’s request for an injunction, the Petitioner will be asked to testify first.

  • If you have documents to show, be sure to give them to the bailiff to give to the judge at the time during the hearing when you think the information will make the most sense.
  • Once you have finished, the person to be restrained will have the chance to ask you or any of your witnesses questions about what was said.

Then it is the restrained person's turn to tell his or her side of the story, present witnesses, and to show whatever documents he or she thinks are important. Once they have finished, you will have a chance to ask the person to be restrained, and his or her witnesses, questions.

If respondent has been served with the temporary injunction and does not show up for the permanent injunction hearing, the Judge can go forward with the hearing without the respondent present and make a decision on the case. Although not present at the hearing, respondent will be bound by the terms of the final injunction, if issued.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will tell you of his or her decision while you are both present in court. The judge will either (1) deny the request for an injunction and dismiss the case or (2) grant the request for a final injunction and issue a permanent injunction for a duration of time.

  • If the request for an injunction is DENIED, parties will receive a copy of the order of dismissal.
  • If the request for an Injunction for Protection is GRANTED the Judge will tell the parties how long the injunction will be in place for, and will also address time sharing and child support if the parties have children in common and there are no other court orders addressing these issues. Additionally, the judge can order respondent to attend classes.

After the hearing, the clerks will provide you with a copy of the injunction and any accompanying orders issued by the judge. A law enforcement officer will serve the respondent with the Injunction and any accompanying orders. Injunctions are also sent to a statewide registry of injunctions that all law enforcement agencies have access to.

INJUNCTIONS ARE VALID AND ENFORCEABLE IN ALL COUNTIES OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA. Your injunction is also enforceable throughout the United States. If you move out of Florida, contact law enforcement agency in the new place and give them a certified copy of your orders.

NOTE: Keep a copy of your Injunction with you at all times. You may need to show it to the police. Also, if you and Respondent have a child(ren) in common, it is likely the Judge issued orders regarding time sharing as part of the injunction. Therefore, copies of the order should be provided to your child(ren)'s school/daycare so they are aware of any time sharing orders issued as part of the injunction and can help enforce the orders.
Call the police right away if the restrained person violates the injunction, and obtain copies of police reports.

Violations of an injunction may include any contact with you in person, by telephone, email, text message, social media or a message relayed through a third person. Any violation should be immediately reported to law enforcement. Have your injunction case number ready. If it is an emergency, call 911.

Violations can also be reported to the State Attorney’s Office and the judge who issued the injunction. The domestic violence clerk’s office can provide you with paperwork to report the violation to the State Attorney’s Office and/or to the Judge who issued your Injunction, along with any police reports you have obtained.

A permanent injunction can last for any duration of time or be indefinite (no end date). ONLY A JUDGE CAN CHANGE OR CANCEL AN INJUNCTION. Either Petitioner or Respondent can ask the Judge for a hearing to make changes to the Injunction.

  • Extensions of Injunctions: The person requesting protection can later ask the court to extend the injunction for additional time by filing a motion. If the person requesting protection wants an extension of his or her injunction, he or she should apply for it 2 months BEFORE the original injunction ends.
  • Removal or Modifications of Injunctions: If the person who asked for protection wants to make changes to the injunction or no longer wants the injunction before the time limit for the injunction has run out, he or she may file a motion with the court. The restrained person can also ask for the injunction and any accompanying orders to be modified and/or dismissed.
Until the parties are able to come to court to speak to a Judge, it is very important that restrained person continue to follow all orders in the Injunction so as not to be charged with violating the Injunction.

Petitioner or respondent can write a letter to the judge asking for any of the above (this letter is also referred to as a MOTION). The motion can be submitted as follows:

  • Filed personally at any of the 4 courthouse intake locations and/or where the court date is scheduled;
  • Faxed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5559; or
  • Emailed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at dvmotions@jud11.flcourts.org.

Please include your name, your case number, judge's name, and phone number where you can be contacted (unless it is confidential) on your motion or letter. If you have any questions, call the Domestic Violence Court Unit to speak to your judge's Case Manager at (305) 349-5556.

Please click here to download a motion form.
PLEASE NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS KEEP YOUR ADDRESS UPDATED WITH THE COURT AS NOTICES FOR HEARING WILL BE SENT TO YOUR LAST KNOWN ADDRESS.

Permanent Injunctions are issued for a duration of time (1 year, 5 years, etc.) or indefinitely. If the petitioner does not ask the court to issue new orders, then these orders, including the injunction, will end on the expiration date. If you have a Permanent Injunction and you would like to request that it be dismissed before the expiration date, you can file a motion with the court.

The motion can be submitted as follows:

  • Filed personally at any of the 4 courthouse intake locations and/or where the court date is scheduled;
  • Faxed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5559; or
  • Emailed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at dvmotions@jud11.flcourts.org.

Please include your name, your case number, judge's name, and phone number where you can be contacted (unless it is confidential) on your motion or letter. If you have any questions, call the Domestic Violence Court Unit to speak to your judge's Case Manager at (305) 349-5556.

Please click here to download a motion form.