There is no judicial process more often abused and misused in the State of Florida than the Domestic Violence Injunction process.
I'll say it more plainly. The overwhelming majority of Domestic Violence Injunction Petitions are full of lies, half-truths, and ulterior motives.
It's a travesty. Hopefully - one day - the geniuses in our State House/Senate will put their heads together and figure out how to reform this broken system. But until then, we have to work with what we have. And that is a system that can uproot your life, can cause you to lose employment, even forbid you from seeing your children, all because of some unfounded allegations.
Now look - there are plenty of Domestic Violence Injunctions that have merit. I represent real victims of domestic violence, stalking, cyberstalking, sexual violence, and repeat violence, all the time. But let's be clear - this system of permitting a Judge to order another person to stay away from you - is intended for victims of actual violence. Unfortunately, it is a system that is so often abused because Temporary Injunctions - the temporary restraining order most petitioners are given at the time they file their allegations (petition) until a final hearing before a Judge - are so easy to obtain.
Judges want to err on the side of caution, so if a Petition sets forth sufficient criteria, a Judge will likely issue a Temporary Injunction which the Petitioner will get until a final hearing where evidence will be presented. This Temporary usually lasts 7-14 days, but if a hearing is postponed, the Temporary could last months. For the Respondent - the person on the receiving end of this Injunction - this Temporary carries civil and criminal penalties if violated. Which means that as long as there is a Temporary Injunction in place, you are limited in where you can go and who you can see. This could prevent you from seeing your kids, going to your own home, even going to your own place of work. And since these matters are public record, it could have a devastating effect on your business, your personal life, and your reputation in the community.
If you are served with an Injunction, contact an attorney immediately to discuss the process. It can be very upsetting to see allegations in print, especially when you know them to be false. As well, many people - especially couples in the process of a divorce - to use Domestic Violence Injunctions as a way to gain leverage with respect to spousal support and time-sharing (child custody). It's wrong but it happens.
The Domestic Violence Injunction process must be reserved for victims of violence who are in need of the Court's help to keep abusers away from them. It is not the place for people to air their grievances, gain leverage in a divorce proceeding, or simply get revenge on an ex.
If you are served with an Injunction in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach, contact my office.