The Protective Order as a Tool against Domestic Abuse
Though domestic violence continues to plague our society, countless victims boldly take steps towards survival on a daily basis. Risking their safety and even their lives, these brave souls gather the strength to ask for help. Yet, some professionals assert that as these individuals survive their painful situations only to face rejection from the courts and legal system.
According to a recent report in the Sun Sentinel, a committee developed by the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association examined the effectiveness of the current protective order petition process. As reported in the article, the committee found that many victims are reluctant to seek assistance from the court because the system for doing so is too time consuming and unnecessarily difficult. Victims must physically go the main courthouse to secure a protection order. Depending on the availability of a judge, an individual may sit at the courthouse for hours without ever being seen.
As a result of these findings, the committee developed a collection of recommendations for government leaders and stakeholders. This includes:
- – Court technology enhancements that will decrease the time it takes for issuance of a protection order;
- – Expansion of filing procedures to regional courthouses, in addition to the main county courthouse; and
- – Allowing greater access to the e-filing system.
Protective Order Provisions
A protective order, sometimes referred to as restraining order or injunction, is an order from the court that prohibits an individual from taking certain actions against another individual. The provisions of the order can range from a prohibition against violent behavior to an order that effectively ends all communication. Protective orders may also:
- – Require payment of temporary support (spousal or child);
- – Force the offender to leave the home or dwelling;
- – Grant temporary child time sharing; and
- – Prohibit the offender from coming within a certain distance from the victim.
Obtaining a Protective Order in Florida
Securing a protective order in Florida first requires a petition. This is a statement to the court explaining why a protective order is sought. The petition is given to a judge for review in an ex-parte hearing, which means that only one side must appear. Often, the victim does not even testify. If the judge agrees that grounds exist, a temporary order is granted. It does not go into effect until the abuser is served and it only lasts for a maximum of 15 days.
Once the temporary order is granted, the case is set for a final hearing. Both parties are sent notifications to attend. After hearing from both parties, the court may grant a final order. The judge has discretion regarding how long to keep the order in effect. It is even possible for the judge to grant an indefinite order, with no ending date.
If you are a victim of domestic violence looking for someone to assist you through the legal terrain, contact an experienced attorney. Located in Fort Lauderdale, Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC serves Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. Call us today at 954-800-2362 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.