In Florida, when you file a petition for protection against domestic violence, the court automatically will consider giving you two types of injunctions: a temporary injunction and a final injunction for protection against domestic violence.
Temporary (ex parte) Injunctions
The temporary or ex parte injunction is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection from the abuser. As soon as you file your petition for protection against domestic violence, the clerk will give your petition to the judge. If the judge decides that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, the judge will grant the temporary injunction.1 You will not have to testify and the abuser does not need to be present. The judge will make the decision based only on the information in your petition2 so it is important to take the time to carefully fill out the petition. For more information on how to fill out the petition, please see Steps for obtaining an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
The temporary injunction takes effect as soon as the abuser is served with (formally given) a copy of the order. This is called giving the abuser notice or having the abuser served with process.
The temporary injunction stays in effect for a certain number of days, but won't last longer than 15 days (unless the judge grants a continuance of the hearing for "good cause" shown by either party.) Before the fixed time period ends, there will be a full hearing to decide whether to give you a final injunction. The date for the full hearing will be set at the same time the judge makes the decision about the temporary injunction. The temporary injunction will last until the full hearing takes place.3 Even if the judge denies you a temporary injunction, it does not necessarily mean you will be denied a final injunction. If the judge believes that there is no immediate and present danger of domestic violence, the judge is still supposed to set a hearing date for a final injunction where you will have a chance to better present your case.2 However, be sure to ask the judge for a hearing – sometimes judges don’t automatically set a hearing date.
At the full hearing, the judge will decide whether to give you a final injunction. The final injunction will last longer than 15 days and may provide you with more protections than the temporary injunction did. The final injunction may have a set period of time that it will be in effect (for example, one year) or it may not have an expiration date. If there is no expiration date, either you or the abuser can file in court to modify (change) or dissolve (end) the injunction at any time and the judge will decide whether or not to grant the relief requested.4
Note: If you are not eligible for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, you may be eligible for a different type of injunction against violence. Please see: If I am not eligible to get an injunction for protection against domestic violence, is there some other Injunction that I can get for protection against violence?
1 Fla. Stat. § 741.30(5)(a)
2 Fla. Stat. § 741.30 (5)(b)
3 Fla. Stat. § 741.30(5)(c)
4 Fla. Stat. § 741.30 (6)(c)