Injunction for Protection Procedures During the COVID-19 Outbreak

We have established new procedures for those seeking an injunction for protection during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. These procedures will help to protect the public and Clerk staff by limiting the amount of in-person contact needed to file an injunction.

Please download this document and follow the instructions as listed.


Family Law Department: 863-534-4184


WHAT IS AN INJUNCTION?

Sometimes called a "restraining order", an injunction is a court order that directs a particular person not to have any contact with you. You have the right to file a petition to ask the court to issue an injunction against a person who has been physically violent with you, has placed you in fear of physical violence, or is stalking you. The purpose of an injunction is to legally prevent that person from having contact with you by ordering them to stay away from your home, your car, your place of employment, and other places the court finds necessary. That person is forbidden to contact you by phone, email, or in person. Injunctions can also include other relief that the court feels is appropriate. If you are under the age of 18, ask the Clerk about an adult filing on your behalf.


TYPES OF INJUNCTIONS

There are five kinds of civil injunctions: domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, repeat violence, and stalking. There are different requirements for each type of injunction. The type of petition you file depends on your relationship with the other person and what has occurred. The requirements for each type of injunction are listed below.

Domestic Violence

Do you now or have you ever lived with the other person as a “family”? Family includes but is not limited to people who you are related to by blood or marriage, parties intimately involved and living together but never married, adopted children, step-parents, and step-children.

OR

Do you and the other person have a child together?

If you answered yes to either of these questions you may wish to file a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.

 

Sexual Violence

You may wish to file a petition for an injunction for protection against sexual violence if:

You answered “no” to the domestic violence questions

AND

The other person committed one of the following acts: sexual battery defined by Chapter 794 of Florida Statutes; lewd and lascivious act defined in Chapter 800 of Florida Statutes upon or in the presence of a child younger than 16; lured or enticed a child as described in Chapter 787 of Florida Statutes; required a child to sexually perform as in Chapter 827 of Florida Statutes; or committed any forcible felony wherein a sexual act was committed or attempted. As the deputy clerk for definitions of these acts if you do not know what they are so you can determine if they apply to your situation.

AND

If you have reported the sexual violence to law enforcement and are cooperating with any criminal proceeding, then you may file for this type of injunction

OR

You can file a sexual violence injunction if the other person has been in prison for sexual violence against you, and the term of imprisonment has expired or will expire within 90 days from the date the petition is filed.

 

Dating Violence

Have you and the other person dated each other in the last six months?

AND

Did you have an expectation of affection or sexual involvement with the other person?

AND

Did you interact with the other person on a frequent and continuous basis during the relationship?

If you answered “YES” to ALL of these questions about dating, and whether or not the other person has been violent towards you in the past, and you fear you are in imminent danger of violence, then you may wish to file a petition for an injunction for protection against dating violence.

 

Repeat Violence

If your answers to the questions about other kinds of injunctions are “no”, you may wish to file a petition for an injunction against repeat violence. This petition could be used for neighbors, coworkers, students, relatives who have never lived together, etc. But, for this type of injunction, there must have been two incidents of physical violence, threats of violence, or stalking, and one of these must have occurred in the last six months.

 

Stalking Violence

If you are the victim of two incidents of stalking, you may wish to file a petition for an injunction against stalking. “Stalking” is defined as willful, malicious, and repeated actions to follow, harass, or cyberstalk another person.


WHERE CAN I OBTAIN AN INJUNCTION?

You can petition the court for an injunction for protection by going to the Clerk of Court Family Law Department, 1st Floor, Polk County Courthouse in Bartow.

The Clerk's office will assist you in filing your petition and will take the file to a judge for his or her review. If the judge finds merit to the petition, he or she will enter a Temporary Order for Protection Against Domestic Violence.

If the violence occurs after regular business hours or on weekends or holidays you may call 911 to report the abuse. If the law enforcement officer determines that you need an injunction, a deputy clerk will be contacted. The deputy Clerk will assist you with a safety plan, which may include requesting injunction. If an injunction is needed, the deputy clerk will prepare the paperwork and will present it to the judge to be approved or denied.


WHAT ARE THE COSTS?

Under Florida Law, effective October 1, 2002, there is no fee to file for a domestic violence injunction for protection. Other petitions for injunction are subject to the standard circuit court filing fees.


WHAT CAN THE INJUNCTION DO FOR YOU?

The injunction can provide such relief as the court deems proper, including:
•Restrain the violator from committing any acts of violence;
•Award you temporary exclusive use of the home;
•Award you temporary custody of your children - Establish temporary child support for minor children (if the violator has a legal obligation to do so);
•May order the violator to participate in counseling.


WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE JUDGE GRANTS THE TEMPORARY INJUNCTION?

The violator must be personally served with a copy of the petition, notice of hearing and temporary injunction. The formal hearing will be scheduled for court within 15 days. You and the violator are required to attend the hearing.

Any injunction granted by the court will be effective until further order of the court, unless the judge includes an expiration date. Either party may ask the court to modify or dissolve the injunction, and that decision is made by the judge.

Copies of all injunctions are placed on file with local law enforcement agencies and are entered into a statewide computer system.