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Below is a basic overview of civil orders of protection, also called restraining orders or injunctions. Every state has slightly different laws and procedures, so make sure you are familiar with your state's requirements.

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What is an Order of Protection/Restraining Order/Injunction?

A Protection Order is a Court Order that requires another person to stay away from you and certain places you identify – such as your job, home, business, or school. A Protection Order can also require that the other party not contact, intimidate, threaten, or otherwise interfere with you or members of your family. The judge can add other conditions to the protection order to protect you or your family and address unique situations. Read More.

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How Do I Apply for an Order of Protection?

Contact your court, police, or local domestic violence center to get information on where you can go to file for an order of protection. It’s important to look at the rules for your county or state before filing for a protective order because the rules may vary.  Read more about how to file for an Order of Protection.

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What if I Have Pending Criminal Charges at the Time of the Protection Order Hearing?

  • If the facts of your hearing for a Protection Order are related to the facts of your criminal case, you have the right to remain silent. This right is important because everything you say at the hearing for a Protection Order is recorded and can be used against you in the criminal case.

  • If you choose to remain silent and the evidence presented is sufficient to issue a Protection Order, a Protection Order will be issued against you. However, after your criminal case is resolved you can file a motion to vacate the Protection Order and testify at that hearing.

  • You may consult with a lawyer about your right to remain silent. 

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How do I Get a Restraining Order in Florida?

In Florida, there are five different categories of restraining orders. These restraining orders can be temporary or final. The person seeking a restraining order is called the Petitioner. The person against whom the restraining order is sought is called the Respondent. You can apply for a temporary restraining order by filing the required forms at the courthouse. Once your forms are filed, a judge reviews them and will either grant or deny a temporary restraining order. You will also be given a court date, within 15 days, for a hearing on whether a final restraining order will be granted.  Read more.

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What Are the Rules for Restraining Orders in my State?

The laws regarding restraining orders vary from state to state. WomensLaw offers summaries of the laws for each state. To access these summaries, click here and select your state from the drop-down menu.

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How do I Present Evidence in Court?

There are certain rules you must follow to admit evidence in court. Read more on how to present evidence.

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What Happens at a Hearing?

For a general overview of how to prepare for a hearing and what to expect at hearing click here.

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How Are Animals Involved in Domestic Violence?

Often in cases of domestic violence, pets become victim too. You can seek protection for your pet as part of your restraining order.

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How Does Domestic Violence Affect Children?

Exposure to Domestic violence has a multitude of serious, negative effects on children. In the video below, Judges Carroll Kelly and Orlando Prescott discuss the serious impact exposure to domestic violence has on children.  

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DV and Children
Watch Now
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