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Who Can File For A Domestic Violence Injunction In Florida?


When you hear stories about domestic violence on the news or even through people you know, the most common scenario is cases involving marital partners. The petitioner may file for a restraining order against his or her spouse as respondent, and ex-spouses are often parties. However, Florida’s statute on domestic violence injunctions recognizes that physical altercations are not limited to current or past marital relationships. Many other individuals in close proximity in terms of personal connection could be victims of domestic violence, and they are entitled to protection as well.

As such, Florida lawmakers allow family and household members to file a petition for a restraining order when they are threatened with domestic violence. An injunction can prevent the respondent from engaging in numerous acts, so it is powerful protection for your safety. You should discuss your situation with a Dade City domestic violence attorney, but some background is also useful.

 Family and Household Members Have Standing

 Assault and physical attacks are criminal offenses, but Florida’s domestic violence statute offers a civil remedy for victims to protect themselves. A person who qualifies under the law can file a petition for a protective order to prohibit misconduct by the respondent. The key to eligibility is whether the petitioner has standing as a family or household member. In addition to spouses and former spouses, the definition includes:

  1. Individuals who are related by blood or marriage;
  2. People who live together as a family would and have resided together as such in the past; and,
  3. Parents who have a child in common, whether or not they were ever married and whether or not they presently reside together.

With the exception of #3, individuals are considered family or household members if they currently or historically resided together in the same residence. This factor imposes a limitation on #1, so only relatives who actually shared a home would qualify.

 Prohibitions in Domestic Violence Restraining Orders 

There are certain standard prohibitions in an order of protection, since the point is to protect the petitioner. The respondent will likely  be barred from contacting or communicating with the petitioner, and may need to relocate from the residence that they share. There are restrictions on where the respondent can be in terms of proximity, and the domestic violence injunction may prohibit him or her from parenting time with children.

In addition, there are some terms that a judge could include under specific circumstances, such as:

  • Ordering a substance abuse evaluation;
  • Requiring the respondent to undergo alcohol or drug counseling;
  • Supervised visitation for minor children; or,
  • Ordering the respondent to participate in anger management courses. 

Trust a Florida Domestic Violence Injunctions Lawyer to Guide You 

Various individuals may qualify for an order of protection under Florida law, but the process for filing a petition and getting court approval is complicated. Legal assistance is critical, so please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane to set up a consultation. You can contact our Dade City location by calling 352-567-0055 or going online. We can provide additional information after reviewing your circumstances.



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