Restraining Orders / Domestic Violence Injunctions in Florida
The Nuclear Bomb of Divorce: Restraining Orders & Domestic Violence Injunctions Almost every day a familiar scene plays out in the Florida courts: A husband and wife are at the end of their rope. They both start to consider a divorce and for the first time, nagging questions cross their mind: How can I get the house to myself? How can I make sure I win custody of the children? How can I quickly get support? After seeking advice from family friends, divorce lawyers, books and websites, they quickly realize a way to score an early win: filing a Domestic Violence Injunction, also known by many people as a Restraining Order.
What they do next can have a dramatic and devastating affect on their intended target. In the State of Florida, in every county, it is fast and free to file a domestic violence injunction. One trip to the courthouse, completion of a free, quick, and easy form, and one hour later a judge considers whether to sign what is officially known as an order of protection against domestic violence. The reality is that most injunctions are signed by the judge through an abundance of caution. The only thing the judge is required to consider are the one-sided claims and allegations of the person filing for the restraining order. Usually within forty eight hours, a sheriff is on the way to serve the restraining order on the respondent. At this point it is critical to look for a good domestic violence attorney.
The really damage begins to unfold after the injunction is served by the sheriff. Suddenly, it becomes a criminal offense to approach, call, or communicate with your spouse. After you formally receive the court order you must almost instantly move out of the marital home. The emphasis is on the word “instantly.” You can take your toothbrush, underwear, some clothing, and a limited amount of personal items. Almost everything else is now in the forbidden zone, illegal to remove or touch until the court decides otherwise.
Chances are overwhelming that the court granted temporary custody of your children to your spouse. In this particular case, temporary custody really means sole custody of the children. Until a judge decides the issue you may not be able to have any contact with your children. On top of everything else you may be ordered to pay child support or alimony.
The effect of the Restraining Order can and will have a devastating effect on your entire life. If you try to speak with your spouse, try to speak with your children, or make the mistake of coming too close to your house there is a chance the police will arrest you and file criminal charges against you for violating the injunction. May people end up with criminal domestic violence. charges against them. Approximately two weeks after the initial restraining order (domestic violence injunction), a local judge will schedule a hearing. In this hearing the judge will decide whether the order is permanent or temporary.
The real impact of the injunction has not hit yet. A domestic violence injunction / restraining order will permanently alter your outcome in an upcoming divorce. The horrible truth: an injunction can destroy your chances at later gaining custody of your children. Sometimes when alimony is ordered within the injunction hearing the judge will decided to adopt that same order in a later divorce. And is everything goes wrong you may end up with a criminal record.
The bottom line of this tale: a restraining order (domestic violence injunction) is a serious thing and it may not be in your interest to do your own case. Your chances of winning custody of your children, your rights to your assets, and your personal liberty and freedom may be hinge on the outcome of your case. Get the best help you can afford. Your future may depend on it.
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I recently settled a long-term divorce with Attorney Kristal Knox representing me. She was very professional, honest, and worked in my best interest at all times. She was very accessible and has wonderful office staff to support her client’s needs in a timely manner, and I highly recommend her.