The Pros and Cons of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

No one should have to experience domestic violence. The sad fact is that it happens far too often. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average of 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. In Florida, 34.2% of women and 24.6% of men experience intimate partner dating violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

If you’re going through this challenging situation, there are legal protections available to you. A restraining order can help keep you and your children safe when going home isn’t an option because of abusive circumstances. Filing a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO), however, can be a complicated process. Before filing a DVRO, there are several factors to consider when deciding if it’s right for your situation.

What’s Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?

Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as any assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. If your intimate partner is showing abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of control and power over you, you might benefit from a domestic violence restraining order.

What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

A domestic violence restraining order is court-ordered protection to keep you safe from abuse or threats of harm by someone you have a close relationship with. Should your abuser disobey this order, it empowers law enforcement to arrest that person to stop the abuse.

When Can I Request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

You can seek a Domestic Violence Restraining Order if you’re the subject of abuse by an intimate partner and the two of you are:

  • Married or registered as domestic partners,
  • Separated or divorced,
  • Dating or you formally dated,
  • Living together or formerly lived together,
  • Parents of a child(ren) together
  • Closely related (i.e., parent, child, sibling, grandparent, in-law)

If their mother or father is abusing your child, you can file a restraining order on behalf of your child to keep them protected and safe. If your child is 12 years or older, they can file for a restraining order themselves.

If you’re not related to your abuser, there are still protections available to you. For instance, you can file a civil harassment restraining order for protection if you’re suffering abuse from a roommate, coworker, neighbor, or distant family member.

What are the Pros of Filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

While a domestic violence restraining order can’t end your marriage or domestic partnership, it can certainly offer you and your children protection and peace of mind. There are many good reasons for filing a domestic restraining order that can help keep you safe.

A DVRO will order your abuser to:

  • Not go near or contact you, your children, family, or others who live with you
  • Not go near your home, place of work, or children’s schools
  • Move out of the house you share together
  • Not own or possess a firearm
  • Follow child custody or visitation orders
  • Pay child, spousal, or partner support
  • Keep away from your pets
  • Pay specific bills
  • Not acquire large expenses or do anything significant to affect your property if you’re married or domestic partners
  • Not make alterations to insurance policies
  • Transfer the rights to a cell phone and account to the person protected
  • Return or release special property
  • Take a 52-week batterer intervention program

There are many protections that a restraining order can provide to keep you safe from your abuser. Many times, this is the first step toward freedom of abuse.

What are the Cons of Filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

It’s possible that after filing a domestic violence restraining order, your partner will become angry at the loss of control they now have over you and your household. In some cases, the abuser makes themselves out to be the victim and blames the actual victim they were abusing.

You never know how your abuser will respond after filing a restraining order against them. While a DVRO can offer you legal protection, you should not assume it will guarantee your safety. The first few weeks after filing a domestic violence restraining order can be quite dangerous, depending on your abuser’s response.

Even with the protections that a DVRO is meant to provide, abusers can retaliate in various ways, including:

  • Assault or physical violence
  • Taking away or harming the children
  • Damaging shared property
  • Ignoring the order and making continued threats or asking someone else to
  • Harming or killing pets
  • Harassing your loved ones for information
  • Stalking
  • Filing a retaliatory restraining order against you
  • Lying about you in court documents, online, or public

After filing a domestic violence restraining order, it’s essential always to consider your situation and prepare for the escalation of your case to a more violent one.

Call Orlando’s Experienced Injunction Attorneys for Help

No one should suffer, or witness their children suffering, from violence and abuse at home. Filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order can provide many protections, but it’s essential to assess all aspects of your situation and the likelihood of it becoming worse. At Fighter Law, we fight for victims of abuse to permanently secure legal protections. We sit with each of our clients to evaluate the level of danger they might be in and make a comprehensive safety plan to move toward freedom and peace of mind.

To schedule a free consultation and speak with an Orlando injunctions attorneys at Fighter Law, complete an online contact form or call at (407) FIGHTER (344-4837).


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