Protective Injunctions
Today, we break down the legal term “protective injunction” and the scenarios in which they can be obtained. A protective injunction is a court order requiring a person to do or cease doing a specific action. The terms protective injunction, restraining order, and protective order are all essentially synonymous and interchangeable in Florida. 

A defamation trial involving formerly married actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard just concluded and has raised public awareness of domestic violence. High-profile cases like these may lead to tangible policy change, as the O.J. Simpson case helped shape the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Perhaps Depp v. Heard will be the next?

Under Florida law, a victim can file a petition seeking a protective injunction for one of the following alleged conduct: 

Types of petitions:

Florida Supreme Court has approved forms for victims to obtain the necessary injunction. 

Steps for getting an injunction for protection against domestic violence:

  1. Go to the courthouse and get the necessary forms.
  2. Fill out the forms.
    1. The Victim must complete and file the petition and necessary forms. 
    2. An attorney may be retained to attend the hearing with the victim after filing.
  3. Make a copy of the forms.
  4. File your case with the county court where the alleged conduct occurred.
  5. A judge reviews your petition.
    1. A judge can outright deny the petition if the facts alleged in the petition do not meet the statutory threshold. 
    2. A judge can grant a temporary injunction for up to 14 days (effective when the temporary injunction is served on the Respondent). A return hearing will be scheduled to determine whether the injunction should be dissolved or made permanent for a specified amount of time. Both the parties must attend this hearing. Failure of the petitioner to appear will likely result in the judge dissolving and dismissing the temporary injunction. Failure of the Respondent to appear could result in the petition being granted or a continuance if the Petitioner requests the same.
  6. Service of process.
    1. The injunction is not enforceable until it is served on the Respondent (the alleged perpetrator) 
    2. The sheriff’s office will serve, so have the alleged perpetrator’s complete physical description, home address, and work address on your petition.

Download Florida Court Forms:

Checklist for litigants seeking a protective injunction:

Fees & Service

There is no fee for filing a protective injunction relating to domestic, stalking, repeat, dating, or sexual violence petition.

Places That Help

  • Florida State Resources:
    • Florida Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119.
    • Advocates and Shelters
      Contact information for non-profit programs and domestic violence shelters where you can find advocates who provide support, safety planning, court accompaniment, and more.
    • Courthouse Locations
      Contact information for civil courthouses.
    • Sheriff Departments
      Contact information for sheriff departments, which, in most states, serve protection orders.
  • Legal Support From McCart & Tesmer:
    • If you have filed an injunction and need representation at a hearing, we can help.

If you believe a protective injunction has been improperly filed against you, you may have legal grounds to have it dissolved or to challenge the court’s ruling through an appeals process. Contact us or call us at 813-498-2757 for a free consultation.

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