Domestic Violence

If you feel you are being subjected to violent behavior and/or have the reasonable belief that you are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, you can ask the Court for an
Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.  The forms necessary to file for an injunction are available from the office of the Clerk of the Court Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM.
After hours, the Sheriff’s Office is available for this purpose in Alachua County and the Clerks of Court are available in the regional counties of the Circuit.

Filling out the forms will take approximately an hour and a half. The forms must be clearly and neatly written in a short concise summary of the events. The summary should include any violence and threats made against you, dates the events took place and any past incidents.  If your request is granted, a temporary injunction will be issued which is in effect until the time of your court hearing.  A full hearing is scheduled within 15 days with all parties appearing before the court.  At the hearing the Judge will listen to the statements and evidence presented by both sides.  Since this is a civil matter rather than a criminal, some of the issues covered may include the following:

  • Who will reside at the parties’ residence.
  • What contact if any will be allowed between the parties.
  • If there are children involved, issues of custody, child support, and visitation will be addressed.
  • Referrals to counseling, evaluations, or treatment might be made.
  • The retrieving of personal and professional items by the offending party.
  • Surrendering of weapons and ammunition to law enforcement.

Family-member domestic violence is governed by Florida Statutes section 741.28.
Non-family-member domestic violence is governed by Florida Statutes section 784.046.

Frequently Asked Questions

My spouse is physically abusive toward me and I am afraid. What can I do?

Peaceful Paths has victim advocacy programs. Contact Peaceful Paths at (352) 377-8255 or (800) 393-SAFE. Also, the Clerk of the Court in each county of the Eighth Judicial Circuit has petitions for protection against domestic violence you can complete and file.

A sheriff’s deputy handed me papers. My spouse said I was harming him/her. I didn’t do this. I want to see my kids. How do I do that?

Attend the hearing as stated on the Temporary Injunction paperwork with which you were served. Tell your side to the Judge at the time of the hearing. Consult with an attorney if you have questions.

How far is too far? When is an argument more than just an argument or considered “domestic violence”?

To learn more about the stages or what are usual symptoms of domestic violence, please call Peaceful Paths (352) 377-8255 or (800) 393-SAFE.

My spouse swears the abuse will never happen again. How do I get my injunction removed?

At the office of the Clerk of the Court, litigants can file a motion to dismiss. Appearance at the hearing is required.

I just got served with this Injunction and it says I have to be at the hearing on Tuesday. I can’t miss work. Do I have to go?

Read the Injunction carefully because it tells litigants what will happen if they don’t attend the hearing. The hearing will go on whether you attend or not.

Helpful Videos

Video #1 focuses on the needs of parties considering a petition for protection. The video was created to assist petitioners (as well as respondents) in understanding Florida’s four orders of protection and the requirements for filing a petition.

Video #2 includes important information about courtroom procedures, discusses the participants in the hearing, and answers many questions litigants might have about what will happen when they come to court.

Video #3 provides tips for Zoom appearances, information on child testimony, instructions on how to vacate or modify the injunction, and what to do when a respondent violates an injunction.

Checklist for litigants filing a petition for protection.

Domestic Violence Resources

More resources, including those in the regional counties, can be found here: Domestic Violence Service Providers

For Providers

If you are a Batterer’s Intervention Provider, please see the forms below: