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How to File a Restraining Order in Duval County FL

Duval Courthouse to File Restaining Order Petition

How do I file for an Injunction for Protection (Restraining Order) in Duval County?

Filing for a restraining order (injunction for protection) in Duval County was designed to be a straightforward process that does not require the assistance of an attorney. Injunctions for protection, commonly referred to as restraining orders are legal devices that can ultimately involve jail to protect individuals who have been victims of violence or are fearful of becoming a victim. Injunctions are issued when the court agrees that the person seeking the injunction is a victim of violence or reasonably believes he/she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of violence. The court then restrains the other party from coming into contact with the victim and/or coming near the victim.

Filing a Petition for Injuntion at the Courthouse

In order to gain access to these protections you must go down to the courthouse and file a Petition for Injunction. The paperwork for the petition is fairly straightforward and in most cases does not require the assistance of an attorney. Staff at the courthouse can assist with completing the Petition for Injunction. The process is relatively ease so that people who cannot afford to hire an attorney can still seek protection from violence. That said, many people seeking an injunction do hire a family law attorney to assist them, either with the hearing on the Petition for Injunction or for a divorce case that is also needed.
There are four types of injunctions/restraining orders in Florida, issued for: domestic violence; dating violence; sexual violence; and repeat violence.

You will need to select which of these applies to you and complete the petition that applies to your situation.

· A domestic violence petition is used when you and the respondent have been living together as a family, whether married or not, or lived together as a family in the past, and/or if you have a child or children together.

· A dating violence petition is for those who have been dating but have not lived together within the last 6 months.

· A sexual violence petition is used for those who have been a victim of sexual assault or abuse (you are not required to file criminal charges).

· A repeat violence petition is for any of the other types of stalking or violence between friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. In order for it to be considered repeat violence, there must be at least two incidents within the last six months.

What’s Included in the Petition Requirements?

The petition requires information like petitioner (you), the respondent (the individual you want restrained), addresses, place of employment, children’s names (if applicable), and a description of the respondent so that police may find him or her. There will also be a paragraph detailing the reasons why you are seeking the petition. It must be detailed, contain the nature of the relationship between you and the individual, and the date or dates of the incident(s). You must be as detailed as possible when explaining the situation because a judge will review the petition and decide whether or not to enter a Temporary Injunction based on this information.

Temporary Restraining Order Injunctions

After reviewing the petition, the judge may or may not grant the petition and enter a Temporary Injunction. A Temporary Injunction is just that – a temporary court order that sets out what the type of contact the respondent may or may not have with the petitioner. If the petition is granted on a temporary basis, the judge will then issue a Temporary Injunction against the respondent that will be in place for 14 days.

The judge will then set a hearing 14 days from the date the judge signs the Temporary Injunction, so that a full hearing can take place and both parties can testify and present evidence. The respondent will be served with a copy of the petition, along with the Temporary Injunction. Once he or she is served, the terms and conditions of the Temporary Injunction are in place and he or she must comply with them. If, however, the respondent cannot be located and served prior to the hearing, the temporary injunction will be extended for another 14 days. It is important to remember that the Temporary Injunction is not enforceable until the respondent has been served with it by law enforcement. That is why it is important to put the correct contact information for the respondent in the petition so that he or she can be found and served. Filing a restraining order in Jacksonville, for example, where there is a large population can be problematic, as it is sometimes difficult for police to easily locate the individual.

If the respondent is served with the petition and Temporary Injunction, you will need to use the 14 day period to prepare for the hearing. At this point, you may wish to hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing. Your attorney will help you better understand what you will need for the hearing. It is generally better to have everything/everyone you might need: witnesses; video evidence; phone records; text messages; social media posts; and anything else that would be evidence of abuse and violence. Your attorney knows the procedures needed to collect and verify evidence that the court will require and can prepare you and your witnesses to testify. Evidence must be presented which supports the allegations in the petition for injunction. Usually, the court will not want to hear “new” evidence or evidence other than what is contained in the petition for injunction, which is why it is so important to include everything in petition.

In general, the injunction procedure is very straightforward and completing and filing the petition can be done without an attorney. While it is not necessary to work with an attorney to file a petition for injunction in Duval County, you should strongly consider having an attorney representing you at the hearing after the Temporary Injunction is issued by the court. The outcome of the hearing is extremely important and can have a significant effect on your safety and well-being, so if you do not feel confident on your own then by all means seek help. When your life and the lives of your family members are at stake there is no reason not to ask for help.

For more information on how to file for an injunction directly in Duval County, please visit or call the injunction clerk at (904) 255-2210.

For this or any other family law related question, please call my office at 904.306.9926 to schedule an appointment or contact us online.

22 responses on “How to File a Restraining Order in Duval County FL

  1. Mario M says:

    How much you have to pay to get one?

    • Wendy Norman says:

      Hi Mario,

      A restraining order is free. There’s not even a filing fee from the Clerk!

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week.

  2. James G. says:

    I don’t know if a restraining order can be issued. My wife has been secretly visiting an ex in the Florida State Prison. He is incarcerated for sexual assault on a child under 12. I have a 12 yr old daughter and a 9 yr old son. I am afraid that if my wife is close to him, he may come around when he is released. I am in fear of my kids.

    • Wendy Norman says:

      Hi James,

      I’m sorry to hear about your stressful sounding situation. It might be best to wait until he is released. It also sounds like he may need a consultation for a re-divorce. Please contact my office if you’d like and we can discuss all available options.

  3. T says:

    Hallo can i fiele restraining order against my Son he is mentally abusive and coast me alot off scare at him that he is going to do some more .

  4. Shill says:

    What if the offender is in a different state? Do I have any recourse to stop cyber stalking. This has been gong on since 1999 and he just hand wrote a letter to my house (because I have tried to block internet) and I have been there less than a year!

    • Wendy Norman says:

      I appreciate your question, Shill.
      I do not practice in other states, and all states have different laws. You may want to contact law enforcement and/or an attorney in the state/city where he lives. Best of luck.

  5. Lyn says:

    what if its the boyfriend of my stepdaughter who snuck into my house through the bedroom window, when i caught him inside the closet the kick him out he looked at me like he’s going to hit me which gave me chills, daughter is out of the house but im afraid they might come back and i have other 2 teenage kids, my daughter couldnt sleep bec of that incident

    • Wendy Norman says:

      I do not believe under Florida law you would be able to obtain an injunction. Hopefully, you reported the incident to the police so there is a record. You may be able to issue a trespass warning against him, but that is not an injunction or family law matter, so you may wish to consult your local sheriff’s office to determine if this is an option. Obviously, if your stepdaughter has a key to the house, you should change the locks.

  6. Jesyka Petrin says:

    How can you tell if someone has been served?

    • Wendy Norman says:

      Generally speaking, you may not know if the respondent is served until you appear for the hearing on the injunction. The information may be available on-line via the Clerk’s docket, but depending on when service took place, you may not actually know until the hearing.

  7. michelle dejesus says:

    hello my husband is being a huge jerk and wants to file a restraining order against my best friend for no reason smh. the story is entirely to long to explain. but hes definitely doing it out of hate. he doesn’t want her around OUR children which is very pathetic. she hasn’t done anything at all to him! all is because she cheated on her boy friend and he doesn’t like that fact that she did. smh hes trying to control my life and friendship with her. shes not a violent person. and she has always been there for us. can he file a restraining order against her for no reason???

    • Wendy Norman says:

      I am sorry you are dealing with this, but from what you have told me, he will not be able to get an injunction (restraining order) against her. He can file a petition requesting one, but I would expect it to be denied without even needing a hearing. Just because he doesn’t like her is not enough of a reason.

  8. Donna Blalock says:

    We moved into our neighborhood a year ago. The male neighbor next door lives with the woman who owns the house. He does not work and is home all day. He is in effect stalking our family, especially the minor children. We have asked both the man and woman not to make photos or videos of our 9 year old son.while he is walking down the sidewalk in front of their house. They became enraged over this. Today we received a No Trespass Notice filed against us and our minor children. None of us have ever been inside their house or in their yard except on two occasions when he invited us to look at his backyard “garden.” What is our recourse? We would like to get a restraining order or even a no trespass order against them since they seem to be overly interested in our young son. These same neighbors also filed a No Trespass Order against the people who live across the street from us. What shouild we do?

    • Wendy Norman says:

      Ms. Blalock,

      I am sorry to hear you are dealing with this situation with your neighbors. The trespass notice is not something that is part of a family law practice, so unfortunately I am not able to give you advice on how to handle that issues. With respect to the restraining order (injunction), you will need to go to the Duval County Courthouse to fill out the necessary petition to request an injunction on behalf of you and your son. The petition will either be granted and a hearing scheduled or it will be denied; if it is denied, the Court will usually provide a reason for the denial.

  9. Ali says:

    My son has been dealing with a bully at school. He has beat my son up one time, but is constantly threatening to do it again. Every single day for 2 and a half years I have had to hear about this kid threatening my son.

    The school has a no contact order in place at the school, but there is nothing they can do off school property.

    With only one physical incident, but multiple threats (no proof of threat, though…all verbal) would I be able to file a restraining order?

    They are both 13.

    • Wendy Norman says:

      I would recommend you file a petition for injunction, as it is certainly worth trying. This is done at the Courthouse, and you do not need an attorney to file the petition. A judge will then determine if a temporary injunction should be issued and a hearing scheduled.

  10. Sheryl says:

    When I file an injunction is it my responsibility to give it to the sheriff’s office to serve or is it automatic?

  11. Jenny says:

    Hello, I’m mostly just wondering if my case has grounds to file for a restraining order. There’s been a man who has been cyberstalking me for the last two years if not longer. I’ve blocked him on all social media but he has been sending me emails now for years. As time has gone on he’s become more delusional about our relationship – as I’ve never responded back to any of his emails – suggesting it’s a romantic one. He also began looking for me at places where the company I work for – they travel the country at various conferences and conventions – would be up north. Recently he’s moved to Florida and spent all day at my last place of work all day waiting for me to show up. My previous employers called me to let me know he was there and had been looking for me. Since we haven’t had any physical contact, and all the contact has been through emails, I’m not sure I have grounds to file for an order, nor do I really understand the process itself. Does your office handle restraining orders against non-involved individuals (we have never been in a romantic relationship at all)?

    • Wendy Norman says:

      Hi Jenny,
      I am not clear from your email if you are a resident of Florida or not. Apparently he is, though. In any event, presuming you are a resident, you can file for a restraining order (also called an injunction) without using an attorney. There is a separate department at the Duval County Courthouse that will screen the facts to determine if you have the basis for an injunction and, if you do, will help you fill out the paperwork. Then a Judge will determine if the allegations are sufficient to enter a temporary injunction and set the matter for a hearing. This is the point where you may want to retain an attorney to assist you. I hope this answers your question.

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