A restraining order is a court order that prohibits the subject of the order from engaging in certain behaviors directed at the protected party (the person who requested the order).
Typically, a restraining order commands the recipient to keep a certain distance away from the protected party and not to contact the protected party in any manner, including email. A restraining order might also require the recipient to surrender their firearms.
The purpose of a restraining order is generally to end domestic violence and harassment. Because people so often use restraining orders to satisfy personal vendettas, courts are typically cautious about granting them.
Following are a few tips on how to file a restraining order petition in a manner that will maximize the chances that the court will approve your petition.
A General Description of the Procedure
You can get a preliminary hearing on your restraining order petition almost immediately, because family law judges understand that emergency situations sometimes arise.
At your preliminary hearing, the judge will decide whether to grant you a full hearing (which the recipient will attend). You will need a full hearing to convince the court to convert your temporary restraining order (valid for 15 days) into a permanent restraining order.
Tip #1: Decide Which Type of Restraining Order You Want
Under Florida law, you must identify an incident that took place within the last 30 days. Otherwise, the judge will turn down your petition for a permanent restraining order.
Tip #3: Run a Criminal Background Check on the Recipient
Run a criminal background check on the recipient, even if you think you know them. Anything you find is likely to strengthen your case for a restraining order.
Tip #4: Learn How To File a Restraining Order in Florida
Learn how to file a restraining order in Florida. The process isn’t particularly complex, but a mistake could result in serious delays. If you are in an emergency situation (you live with an abuser, for example), a delay is the last thing you need.
Tip #5: Recruit Witnesses To Help You
Witnesses to abuse can greatly assist your request for a restraining order. Even if you can’t find a witness who actually saw you (or someone else) being abused by the recipient, you might be able to find a witness who saw the recipient verbally threaten you.
Tip #6: Keep All Related Documentation
You can use emails and other digital content as evidence in a court of law. A threatening email from the recipient, for example, could turn out to be particularly useful evidence.
Tip #7: Keep a Detailed Journal of Everything That Happens
The judge will probably allow you to submit a statement to the court. Your statement will be more effective if you abstract it from a daily journal that includes detailed descriptions of your suffering at the hands of the recipient.
Tip #8: Don’t Lose Your Composure in Court
If the recipient is smart, they will try to bait you into becoming angry or otherwise losing composure. They might blatantly lie to the judge with a smile on their face, for example.
Don’t let it rattle you, because you’re only hurting your own case that way. Stay cool, but don’t let yourself be pushed around either. Your lawyer might help you rehearse for your court appearance.
An Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help You
Hiring a qualified Florida family lawyer who understands how restraining orders work offers you the best chance of securing court approval. If your restraining order request is part of a wider dispute, such as a divorce or a child custody battle, a family lawyer can help you with that as well.
Contact A Domestic Violence Lawyer At McMichen, Cinami & Demps in Orlando, FL