Am I eligible to obtain an injunction for protection against domestic violence?
Injunctions for protection against domestic violence protect you against family or household members, which are defined as:
- your current or former husband or wife;
- any person related to you by blood or marriage, such as your aunt, cousin or brother-in-law;
- any person who lives or has lived with you, as if they were part of the family, even if they are no longer living with you; or
- someone you have a child in common with, even if you have never lived together and never married that person.1
To read about what qualifies as domestic violence for the purpose of getting an injunction, go to What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Florida?
If you are a minor, you may need a parent or legal guardian to file for an injunction on your behalf.2 You may want to contact a domestic violence program for more information about how to get an injunction if you are a minor. Go to FL Advocates and Shelters to find a program near you.
Note: If someone other than one of these people is hurting you, there are other petitions that you may be eligible to file for protection against violence. 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. § 741.28(3)
2 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(2)
Can I get an injunction for protection against domestic violence against my same-sex partner?
In Florida, you may apply for an injunction against domestic violence against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible to obtain an injunction for protection against domestic violence? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Florida?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
Can a minor file for an injunction for protection against domestic violence?
If you are a minor, you may need a parent or legal guardian to file for an injunction on your behalf.1 You may want to contact a domestic violence program for more information about how to get an injunction if you are a minor. Go to FL Advocates and Shelters to find a program near you.
1 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(2)
Is there a minimum amount of time that I must live in Florida before I can file for an injunction?
No, there is no minimum requirement of residency for you to meet before you file a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence in Florida. You also have the option of filing the petition in the county where the respondent lives, or where the domestic violence occurred instead of in the county where you currently live.1 This might be the best option for you if you have moved to a new county and the abuser does not know what county you are living in.
1 Fla. Stat. § 741.30(1)(k)
How much does it cost? Do I need a lawyer?
There is no fee for filing a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.1
You can represent yourself throughout the process of seeking an injunction for protection against domestic violence.2 When you represent yourself, it is called going to court “pro se.” Many people have been successful in getting injunctions when they have gone pro se, however, in many situations it would be to your advantage to have an attorney to help you through this process. (This is especially true if the abuser has an attorney or child custody issues are involved.) If you cannot afford an attorney, one of the legal services providers listed on our FL Finding a Lawyer page may be able to assist you.
If you do not want to or cannot hire an attorney, you might want to think about finding an advocate who can help you go through the process of obtaining an injunction. Having another person give you support through this process can be a tremendous help. You will find someone who can help and who knows the system by contacting a local domestic violence organization in your area on our FL Advocates and Shelters page.
1 Fla. Stat. § 741.30(2)(a)
2 Fla. Stat. § 741.30(1)(f)
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.
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?
Yes. If you do not qualify for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, you might qualify for one of these other types of injunctions:
1. Injunction Against Repeat Violence. You may file for an injunction against repeat violence against anyone who has committed at least two acts of violence or stalking against you or a member of your immediate family (your child, your parents, or a sister or brother) and one of those two acts of violence has occurred within the last six months.
2. Injunction Against Dating Violence. You may file for an injunction against dating violence if you have been abused or reasonably believe you are in immediate danger of becoming the victim of abuse by someone you have or had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature within the past six months. Dating violence does not include violence in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who have only socialized in a business or social context.
3. Injunction Against Sexual Violence. You may file for an injunction against sexual violence if you are a victim of sexual violence, as it is defined in the Florida statutes. To be eligible to file a petition for an injunction against sexual violence, you must have reported the incident of violence to the police or other law enforcement agency and be cooperating in any criminal proceeding against the abuser if criminal charges are brought against him. There are many difference sexual crimes that could qualify you for this injunction. If you are unsure if your situation would qualify, the law enforcement agency to which you report the incident of violence can help you understand whether an act of sexual violence, as defined in the law, has been committed.
You also may file any of these petitions on behalf of any minor child (under 18) who is living at home and who is the victim of the violence for which protection is sought.1
The clerk of the circuit court will provide you with forms and instructions for filing any of these petitions. The clerk also will assist you in filling out the forms. You can also visit our FL Download Court Forms page for links to online forms.
The process will be similar to the process described above in Steps for obtaining an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
1 Fla. Stat. § 784.046