Family Services


Restraining Orders (Injunctions)


The Family Services Injunction team helps those affected by domestic, repeat, sexual, dating and stalking violence obtain injunctions for protection. Injunctions are commonly referred to as "restraining orders."

Tips for Staying Safe



Your abuser may monitor your internet use. If you have reason to believe your computer is not secure, you may wish to use a computer your abuser does not access. If your abuser has access to your computer, follow steps to delete your browsing history.



What is an Injunction for Protection?


An Injunction for Protection is a Court Order, often referred to as a restraining order, that places restrictions on an individual who has allegedly committed acts or made threats of violence against another individual. 

For example, a restraining order is requested by the Petitioner who files a "Petition" with the Court asking for protection from the Respondent. 

A restraining order may include requirements that restrain the Respondent from further acts of violence; order the Respondent to leave a shared dwelling; prevent the Respondent from coming to your home, school or place of employment; and/or award temporary custody of minor children. 



Types of Restraining Orders

 
There are five types of restraining orders that differ based on the nature of the threat and the survivor's relationship to the abuser. When determining the type of restraining order to file, it is important that you review all of the requirements for each type before selecting one. Selecting the incorrect type may cause your Petition to be denied by the Judge.

Domestic Violence
You may file a Domestic Violence restraining order if violence or stalking has occurred, or the Petitioner has reasonable cause to believe may occur, between individuals who are spouses, former spouses, or persons related by blood or marriage who are residing or have resided together as a family, or individuals who are residing together or have resided together as if family, or individuals who have a child in common.

Download the Domestic Violence Petition.


Stalking Violence
You may file a Stalking Violence restraining order if someone purposely follows or harasses you repeatedly over a period of time. If in doing so, he/she threatens your life or threatens to harm you, with the intent to cause you reasonable fear for your safety, then the act becomes aggravated.

Download
Stalking Violence Petition.

Repeat Violence
You may file a Repeat Violence restraining order if there have been two acts of violence or stalking on two separate occasions, one of which must have been within the past 6 months committed by a person against another person. These types of Injunctions are usually appropriate for neighbor-against-neighbor, coworker-against-coworker, or other types of relationships that are of a non-domestic or non-dating nature.

Download
Repeat Violence Petition.

Sexual Violence
You may file a Sexual Violence restraining order if any one of the following has occurred:
  • Sexual battery 
  • A lewd or lascivious act, committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 
  • Luring or enticing a child 
  • Sexual performance by a child  
  • Any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted

In addition, you must have reported the incident to law enforcement and be cooperating in any criminal proceedings or t
he Respondent must have been sentenced to prison and the term expired or is due to expire within 90 days.

Download Sexual Violence Petition.

Dating Violence
You may file a Dating Violence restraining order if violence or stalking has occurred, or the Petitioner has reasonable cause to believe may occur, between individuals who: 
  • Have been in a dating relationship within the past 6 months or 
  • Have had an expectation of affection or sexual involvement or 
  • Have been involved over time and on a continuous basis, excluding individuals who have only engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context

Download Dating Violence Petition.



Filing a Restraining Order


Filing for protection is free. There is no fee to file a restraining order.

How to File
A Petition may be filed in the county where you currently reside, where the Respondent resides or where the violence occurred. In Orange County, a restraining order may be filed through the following:

Orange County Courthouse
425 N. Orange Avenue, suite 315
Orlando, FL 32801
M-F, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

OR

Florida Courts E-Filing Portal 

For directions on how to file a case using the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, click Here.


When Filling Out Your Petition
  • Provide the Respondent’s first and last name.
  • If you do not want the Respondent to know where you live, write "confidential" anywhere your address is requested. Then complete a Petitioner's Request for Confidential Filing of Address form.
  • Provide a summary of any recent violence or stalking that the Respondent has committed against you. 
  • Provide copies of supporting documentation such as police reports, other court orders, etc. 
  • Provide the Respondent’s location and/or as much information about the Respondent as you can by completing a Sheriff's Information Sheet. 
  • If the Respondent lives outside of Florida, you will need to contact the Sheriff of the county where he or she lives to obtain information about having Court papers served. Provide this information and any relevant fees to the Clerk's Office where you file your Petition by completing an Out-of-County Service Information Sheet.
  • Provide valid identification.

Minors Under Age 18
If you are a minor under age 18, one of your parents or your legal guardian must file the Petition on your behalf. 

If you are filing against a minor, you must provide the first and last name of the minor child against whom you are filing as well as the first and last name of that minor's parent or legal guardian.



What Happens After a Petition is Filed?


Once a Petition for Injunction for Protection has been filed, it will be sent to a Judge for review. You need to return to room 315 of the courthouse to receive paperwork explaining the Judge's decision. If you file your Petition before 2:00 p.m., come to room 315 the day of the filing between 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. If you file your petition after 2:00 p.m., return to room 315 the next business day.

The Judge may make one of three decisions:

  • Determine that you need protection and grant a Temporary Injunction.
  • Determine that your allegations do not meet Florida Statute requirements for a Temporary Injunction, but find that a hearing is merited. 
  • Determine that your situation does not meet Florida Statute requirements for a Temporary Injunction and that a hearing is not merited.

In the first two instances, a hearing will be scheduled within fifteen 15 calendar days of your Petition filing date. You are required to attend the hearing. The Respondent will be served notice of the hearing as well.

If a hearing is scheduled, the Judge at the hearing will determine whether or not to grant a restraining order. If the Judge grants a restraining order, it may be in effect for an indefinite period of time or may expire on a specific date. 

If your Petition is denied, but new information about additional acts of violence or stalking arises, you may ask the Judge to review your original Petition and these new acts by filing a Supplemental Affidavit in Support of Petition for Injunction for Protection.



Filing an Affidavit of Violation


If the respondent violates the restraining order, the first step is to call law enforcement and report the incident.

The second step is to come to room 315 of the Orange County Courthouse to file a Petition for Violation of Injunction

There is no cost to file a Petition for Violation of Injunction.