How Do We Stop a Former Girlfriend From Harassing Us When She Picks Up Her Child for Visitation?
A restraining order may be issued to a person who is a victim of harassment. A restraining order is a court document that is an order signed by a judge. Typically, civil court orders are not published in newspapers, but violations of criminal restraining orders will become part of one's legal record. The restraining order may expire by statute or remain in effect until vacated by the court. The order may or may not be issued ex parte, or without both parties to the order present. In certain cases, a judge may require testimony by both sides before issuing a restraining order.
Please see the following FL statute:
741.30 Domestic violence; injunction; powers and duties of court and clerk; petition; notice and hearing; temporary injunction; issuance of injunction; statewide verification system; enforcement.—(1) There is created a cause of action for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
(a) Any person described in paragraph (e), who is either the victim of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28 or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence, has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
(b) This cause of action for an injunction may be sought whether or not any other cause of action is currently pending between the parties. However, the pendency of any such cause of action shall be alleged in the petition.
(c) In the event a subsequent cause of action is filed under chapter 61, any orders entered therein shall take precedence over any inconsistent provisions of an injunction issued under this section which addresses matters governed by chapter 61.
(d) A person’s right to petition for an injunction shall not be affected by such person having left a residence or household to avoid domestic violence.
(e) This cause of action for an injunction may be sought by family or household members. No person shall be precluded from seeking injunctive relief pursuant to this chapter solely on the basis that such person is not a spouse.
(f) This cause of action for an injunction shall not require that either party be represented by an attorney.
(g) Any person, including an officer of the court, who offers evidence or recommendations relating to the cause of action must either present the evidence or recommendations in writing to the court with copies to each party and their attorney, or must present the evidence under oath at a hearing at which all parties are present.
(h) Nothing in this section shall affect the title to any real estate.
(i) The court is prohibited from issuing mutual orders of protection. This does not preclude the court from issuing separate injunctions for protection against domestic violence where each party has complied with the provisions of this section. Compliance with the provisions of this section cannot be waived.
(j) Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 47, a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence may be filed in the circuit where the petitioner currently or temporarily resides, where the respondent resides, or where the domestic violence occurred. There is no minimum requirement of residency to petition for an injunction for protection.
(2)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the assessment of a filing fee for a petition for protection against domestic violence is prohibited effective October 1, 2002. However, subject to legislative appropriation, the clerk of the circuit court may, on a quarterly basis, submit to the Office of the State Courts Administrator a certified request for reimbursement for petitions for protection against domestic violence issued by the court, at the rate of $40 per petition. The request for reimbursement shall be submitted in the form and manner prescribed by the Office of the State Courts Administrator. From this reimbursement, the clerk shall pay any law enforcement agency serving the injunction the fee requested by the law enforcement agency; however, this fee shall not exceed $20.
(b) No bond shall be required by the court for the entry of an injunction.
(c)1. The clerk of the court shall assist petitioners in seeking both injunctions for protection against domestic violence and enforcement for a violation thereof as specified in this section.
2. All clerks’ offices shall provide simplified petition forms for the injunction, any modifications, and the enforcement thereof, including instructions for completion.
3. The clerk of the court shall advise petitioners of the opportunity to apply for a certificate of indigence in lieu of prepayment for the cost of the filing fee, as provided in paragraph (a).
4. The clerk of the court shall ensure the petitioner’s privacy to the extent practical while completing the forms for injunctions for protection against domestic violence.
5. The clerk of the court shall provide petitioners with a minimum of two certified copies of the order of injunction, one of which is serviceable and will inform the petitioner of the process for service and enforcement.
6. Clerks of court and appropriate staff in each county shall receive training in the effective assistance of petitioners as provided or approved by the Florida Association of Court Clerks.
7. The clerk of the court in each county shall make available informational brochures on domestic violence when such brochures are provided by local certified domestic violence centers.
8. The clerk of the court in each county shall distribute a statewide uniform informational brochure to petitioners at the time of filing for an injunction for protection against domestic or repeat violence when such brochures become available. The brochure must include information about the effect of giving the court false information about domestic violence.
(3)(a) The sworn petition shall allege the existence of such domestic violence and shall include the specific facts and circumstances upon the basis of which relief is sought.
(b) The sworn petition shall be in substantially the following form:
(d) If the sworn petition seeks to determine a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule with regard to the minor child or children of the parties, the sworn petition shall be accompanied by or shall incorporate the allegations required by s. 61.522 of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
(4) Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall set a hearing to be held at the earliest possible time. The respondent shall be personally served with a copy of the petition, financial affidavit, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act affidavit, if any, notice of hearing, and temporary injunction, if any, prior to the hearing.
(5)(a) If it appears to the court that an immediate and present danger of domestic violence exists, the court may grant a temporary injunction ex parte, pending a full hearing, and may grant such relief as the court deems proper, including an injunction:
1. Restraining the respondent from committing any acts of domestic violence.
2. Awarding to the petitioner the temporary exclusive use and possession of the dwelling that the parties share or excluding the respondent from the residence of the petitioner.
3. On the same basis as provided in s. 61.13, providing the petitioner a temporary parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which may award the petitioner up to 100 percent of the time-sharing. The temporary parenting plan remains in effect until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or proceeding affecting the placement of, access to, parental time with, adoption of, or parental rights and responsibilities for the minor child.
(b) In a hearing ex parte for the purpose of obtaining such ex parte temporary injunction, no evidence other than verified pleadings or affidavits shall be used as evidence, unless the respondent appears at the hearing or has received reasonable notice of the hearing. A denial of a petition for an ex parte injunction shall be by written order noting the legal grounds for denial. When the only ground for denial is no appearance of an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, the court shall set a full hearing on the petition for injunction with notice at the earliest possible time. Nothing herein affects a petitioner’s right to promptly amend any petition, or otherwise be heard in person on any petition consistent with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
(c) Any such ex parte temporary injunction shall be effective for a fixed period not to exceed 15 days. A full hearing, as provided by this section, shall be set for a date no later than the date when the temporary injunction ceases to be effective. The court may grant a continuance of the hearing before or during a hearing for good cause shown by any party, which shall include a continuance to obtain service of process. Any injunction shall be extended if necessary to remain in full force and effect during any period of continuance.
(6)(a) Upon notice and hearing, when it appears to the court that the petitioner is either the victim of domestic violence as defined by s. 741.28 or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the court may grant such relief as the court deems proper, including an injunction:
1. Restraining the respondent from committing any acts of domestic violence.
2. Awarding to the petitioner the exclusive use and possession of the dwelling that the parties share or excluding the respondent from the residence of the petitioner.
3. On the same basis as provided in chapter 61, providing the petitioner with 100 percent of the time-sharing in a temporary parenting plan that shall remain in effect until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or proceeding affecting the placement of, access to, parental time with, adoption of, or parental rights and responsibilities for the minor child.
4. On the same basis as provided in chapter 61, establishing temporary support for a minor child or children or the petitioner. An order of temporary support remains in effect until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or proceeding affecting child support.
5. Ordering the respondent to participate in treatment, intervention, or counseling services to be paid for by the respondent. When the court orders the respondent to participate in a batterers’ intervention program, the court, or any entity designated by the court, must provide the respondent with a list of all certified batterers’ intervention programs and all programs which have submitted an application to the Department of Children and Family Services to become certified under s. 741.32, from which the respondent must choose a program in which to participate. If there are no certified batterers’ intervention programs in the circuit, the court shall provide a list of acceptable programs from which the respondent must choose a program in which to participate.
6. Referring a petitioner to a certified domestic violence center. The court must provide the petitioner with a list of certified domestic violence centers in the circuit which the petitioner may contact.
7. Ordering such other relief as the court deems necessary for the protection of a victim of domestic violence, including injunctions or directives to law enforcement agencies, as provided in this section.
(b) In determining whether a petitioner has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the court shall consider and evaluate all relevant factors alleged in the petition, including, but not limited to:
1. The history between the petitioner and the respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.
2. Whether the respondent has attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner.
3. Whether the respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the petitioner’s child or children.
4. Whether the respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
5. Whether the respondent has used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner any weapons such as guns or knives.
6. Whether the respondent has physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement.
7. Whether the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence.
8. The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.
9. Whether the respondent has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner.
10. Whether the respondent engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
In making its determination under this paragraph, the court is not limited to those factors enumerated in subparagraphs 1.-10.
(c) The terms of an injunction restraining the respondent under subparagraph (a)1. or ordering other relief for the protection of the victim under subparagraph (a)7. shall remain in effect until modified or dissolved. Either party may move at any time to modify or dissolve the injunction. No specific allegations are required. Such relief may be granted in addition to other civil or criminal remedies.
(d) A temporary or final judgment on injunction for protection against domestic violence entered pursuant to this section shall, on its face, indicate that:
1. The injunction is valid and enforceable in all counties of the State of Florida.
2. Law enforcement officers may use their arrest powers pursuant to s. 901.15(6) to enforce the terms of the injunction.
3. The court had jurisdiction over the parties and matter under the laws of Florida and that reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard was given to the person against whom the order is sought sufficient to protect that person’s right to due process.
4. The date respondent was served with the temporary or final order, if obtainable.
(e) An injunction for protection against domestic violence entered pursuant to this section, on its face, may order that the respondent attend a batterers’ intervention program as a condition of the injunction. Unless the court makes written factual findings in its judgment or order which are based on substantial evidence, stating why batterers’ intervention programs would be inappropriate, the court shall order the respondent to attend a batterers’ intervention program if:
1. It finds that the respondent willfully violated the ex parte injunction;
2. The respondent, in this state or any other state, has been convicted of, had adjudication withheld on, or pled nolo contendere to a crime involving violence or a threat of violence; or
3. The respondent, in this state or any other state, has had at any time a prior injunction for protection entered against the respondent after a hearing with notice.
It is mandatory that such programs be certified under s. 741.32.
(f) The fact that a separate order of protection is granted to each opposing party shall not be legally sufficient to deny any remedy to either party or to prove that the parties are equally at fault or equally endangered.
(g) A final judgment on injunction for protection against domestic violence entered pursuant to this section must, on its face, indicate that it is a violation of s. 790.233, and a first degree misdemeanor, for the respondent to have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm or ammunition.
(h) All proceedings under this subsection shall be recorded. Recording may be by electronic means as provided by the Rules of Judicial Administration.
(7) The court shall allow an advocate from a state attorney’s office, an advocate from a law enforcement agency, or an advocate from a certified domestic violence center who is registered under s. 39.905 to be present with the petitioner or respondent during any court proceedings or hearings related to the injunction for protection, provided the petitioner or respondent has made such a request and the advocate is able to be present.
(8)(a)1. The clerk of the court shall furnish a copy of the petition, financial affidavit, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act affidavit, if any, notice of hearing, and temporary injunction, if any, to the sheriff or a law enforcement agency of the county where the respondent resides or can be found, who shall serve it upon the respondent as soon thereafter as possible on any day of the week and at any time of the day or night. When requested by the sheriff, the clerk of the court may transmit a facsimile copy of an injunction that has been certified by the clerk of the court, and this facsimile copy may be served in the same manner as a certified copy. Upon receiving a facsimile copy, the sheriff must verify receipt with the sender before attempting to serve it upon the respondent. In addition, if the sheriff is in possession of an injunction for protection that has been certified by the clerk of the court, the sheriff may transmit a facsimile copy of that injunction to a law enforcement officer who shall serve it in the same manner as a certified copy. The clerk of the court shall be responsible for furnishing to the sheriff such information on the respondent’s physical description and location as is required by the department to comply with the verification procedures set forth in this section. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the chief judge of each circuit, in consultation with the appropriate sheriff, may authorize a law enforcement agency within the jurisdiction to effect service. A law enforcement agency serving injunctions pursuant to this section shall use service and verification procedures consistent with those of the sheriff.
2. When an injunction is issued, if the petitioner requests the assistance of a law enforcement agency, the court may order that an officer from the appropriate law enforcement agency accompany the petitioner and assist in placing the petitioner in possession of the dwelling or residence, or otherwise assist in the execution or service of the injunction. A law enforcement officer shall accept a copy of an injunction for protection against domestic violence, certified by the clerk of the court, from the petitioner and immediately serve it upon a respondent who has been located but not yet served.
3. All orders issued, changed, continued, extended, or vacated subsequent to the original service of documents enumerated under subparagraph 1., shall be certified by the clerk of the court and delivered to the parties at the time of the entry of the order. The parties may acknowledge receipt of such order in writing on the face of the original order. In the event a party fails or refuses to acknowledge the receipt of a certified copy of an order, the clerk shall note on the original order that service was effected. If delivery at the hearing is not possible, the clerk shall mail certified copies of the order to the parties at the last known address of each party. Service by mail is complete upon mailing. When an order is served pursuant to this subsection, the clerk shall prepare a written certification to be placed in the court file specifying the time, date, and method of service and shall notify the sheriff.
If the respondent has been served previously with the temporary injunction and has failed to appear at the initial hearing on the temporary injunction, any subsequent petition for injunction seeking an extension of time may be served on the respondent by the clerk of the court by certified mail in lieu of personal service by a law enforcement officer.
(b) There shall be created a Domestic and Repeat Violence Injunction Statewide Verification System within the Department of Law Enforcement. The department shall establish, implement, and maintain a statewide communication system capable of electronically transmitting information to and between criminal justice agencies relating to domestic violence injunctions and repeat violence injunctions issued by the courts throughout the state. Such information must include, but is not limited to, information as to the existence and status of any injunction for verification purposes.
(c)1. Within 24 hours after the court issues an injunction for protection against domestic violence or changes, continues, extends, or vacates an injunction for protection against domestic violence, the clerk of the court must forward a certified copy of the injunction for service to the sheriff with jurisdiction over the residence of the petitioner. The injunction must be served in accordance with this subsection.
2. Within 24 hours after service of process of an injunction for protection against domestic violence upon a respondent, the law enforcement officer must forward the written proof of service of process to the sheriff with jurisdiction over the residence of the petitioner.
3. Within 24 hours after the sheriff receives a certified copy of the injunction for protection against domestic violence, the sheriff must make information relating to the injunction available to other law enforcement agencies by electronically transmitting such information to the department.
4. Within 24 hours after the sheriff or other law enforcement officer has made service upon the respondent and the sheriff has been so notified, the sheriff must make information relating to the service available to other law enforcement agencies by electronically transmitting such information to the department.
5. Within 24 hours after an injunction for protection against domestic violence is vacated, terminated, or otherwise rendered no longer effective by ruling of the court, the clerk of the court must notify the sheriff receiving original notification of the injunction as provided in subparagraph 2. That agency shall, within 24 hours after receiving such notification from the clerk of the court, notify the department of such action of the court.
(9)(a) The court may enforce a violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence through a civil or criminal contempt proceeding, or the state attorney may prosecute it as a criminal violation under s. 741.31. The court may enforce the respondent’s compliance with the injunction through any appropriate civil and criminal remedies, including, but not limited to, a monetary assessment or a fine. The clerk of the court shall collect and receive such assessments or fines. On a monthly basis, the clerk shall transfer the moneys collected pursuant to this paragraph to the State Treasury for deposit in the Domestic Violence Trust Fund established in s. 741.01.
(b) If the respondent is arrested by a law enforcement officer under s. 901.15(6) or for a violation of s. 741.31, the respondent shall be held in custody until brought before the court as expeditiously as possible for the purpose of enforcing the injunction and for admittance to bail in accordance with chapter 903 and the applicable rules of criminal procedure, pending a hearing.
(10) The petitioner or the respondent may move the court to modify or dissolve an injunction at any time.