How can I extend a protective order in Florida?

Understanding Protective Orders in Florida

In Florida, protective orders, commonly referred to as restraining orders, serve as a legal means to protect individuals from violence or harassment. These orders are court-issued directives that require the alleged abuser to maintain a certain distance from the victim and refrain from contact. Initially, protective orders are temporary and typically last until the court hearing, which usually occurs within 15 days.

Criteria for Extending a Protective Order

To extend a protective order in Florida, the petitioner must demonstrate a continuing need for protection. The request for an extension should be filed before the current order expires. Valid reasons for an extension might include ongoing threats, evidence of stalking, or any new incidents of violence.

Procedure to Extend a Protective Order

  1. Filing a Motion: The first step involves filing a 'Motion to Extend Injunction for Protection' with the clerk of the court where the original order was issued. This motion must clearly state the reasons why an extension is necessary.
  2. Serving Notice: The respondent must be served with a copy of the motion, ensuring they are aware of the request for an extension and have the opportunity to contest it at a hearing.
  3. Hearing: A hearing will be scheduled where both parties can present evidence and testimony as to why the protective order should or should not be extended. The petitioner must attend this hearing and may bring any documentation or witnesses that support their case.
  4. Judicial Decision: After considering the evidence, the judge will decide whether to extend the protective order. If granted, the extension can last for a specified period or may even be made permanent in some cases.

Historical References and Considerations

The necessity of protective orders and their subsequent extensions can be traced back to landmark cases such as Thomson v. Thomson (1994), wherein domestic violence was recognized as a critical issue requiring legal intervention. Within Florida's legal history, this recognition has underscored the importance of providing ongoing protection through mechanisms like injunctions.

Conclusion

Extending a protective order in Florida is a process that requires careful legal maneuvering and adherence to court procedures. Individuals looking to extend their protective orders must act promptly and present compelling evidence to ensure their continued safety. It is often advisable to seek assistance from legal professionals who specialize in family law to navigate this process effectively.