Some divorces or separations are smooth, painless, or mutual. Most can be difficult, time consuming, and maybe even hurtful. But a few can be downright dangerous. In cases in which a divorce or separation is pending, Florida law provides for the issuance of protective orders (orders of protection, or injunctions for protection, or restraining orders are all names for this court document). If you believe you may be in need of an order of protection and have some questions about how the process works or what the process does, continue reading to learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Florida orders of protection.
Are There Different Types of Protective Orders in Florida? Which One Should I Get?
Florida law provides for four different types of orders of protection against violence, each applicable for a different circumstance: domestic, repeat, dating, and sexual. If you’re considering petitioning for an order of protection pertaining to your divorce or separation, you will be seeking a domestic violence protective order. This will be true even if you are seeking protection from sexual violence or from activities that would fall under one of the other categories of orders.
How Do I Know if I Can Apply for One?
In Florida, the legal standard for who may apply for a protective order is determined based on whether the applicant “has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence”. A judge will make this determination based on things like threats, harassment, stalking, physical abuse, abuse of children or pets, the use or threat of use of weapons, and whether there was a prior order of protection in place.
How Long Will the Protective Order Last?
The order’s length may be temporary (usually used to provide immediate protection quickly after filing) and last a number of days. During that time, you’ll be able to prepare for a full hearing with a judge to decide whether you will be issued a final order of protection, the length of which could span a year, more, or have no expiration date at all.
What Will the Order Protect Me From?
Florida protective orders may order your spouse or ex-spouse to stay away from your home or place of business. It may order him or her to leave the home you both share, to relinquish custody of children to you, or even to go to treatment or counseling (for which he or she will need to pay). The judge will decide what terms will be in the order.
How Should I Go About Pursuing an Order of Protection?
If you or someone you care about is in danger of experiencing or has experienced domestic violence, the first step should be finding a safe place to be. But after prioritizing the individual’s life and health, legal avenues for relief can be considered, including protective orders. The help of an experienced family attorney can ease the stress and difficulty of the process. Contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+