Just because you have a domestic violence injunction out against you, that doesn’t mean you lose all your rights, and it doesn’t mean that you are powerless to seek the aid of the courts if circumstances have changed in your case. So, even though that original injunction was entered, you can still take action. If you think you need the aid of the legal system, reach out to a knowledgeable South Florida family law attorney.
There are lots of reasons why restraining orders get entered. Sometimes, they may involve a case where the alleged abuser unwisely didn’t hire an attorney and didn’t show up to his hearing. Other times, they may involve someone who did commit the abuse alleged but who subsequently did not engage in any misconduct thereafter.
In both of those cases, the person who is the subject of the order may be someone who’s trying very hard to remain compliant at all times. If that’s you, one thing you may fear is the prospect of inadvertent non-compliance. That can happen in numerous ways, including, as was the circumstance in one recent Sarasota County protective injunction case, a relocation choice made by the alleged victim.
C.B., the wife in that Sarasota case, sought a domestic violence injunction in 2017. D.B., the husband, did not contest the action, and the court entered the injunction in October 2017. The time period of the injunction was two years.
The spouses divorced in the summer of 2018 and, in that divorce, the husband received the marital home, which he continued to use as his residence. Sometime in the first half of 2019, the wife decided to move. This wasn’t just any move, though. The wife’s new home was located less than one mile from and in the same neighborhood as the husband’s house.
The move raised the risk of an accidental violation of the order
This rightly raised distinct fears on the part of the husband. It is easy to see how, if the person you’re required to stay away from moves into your neighborhood, you could violate the terms of the injunction entirely by accident.
The ex-husband sought to dissolve the injunction, arguing that it no longer served a valid purpose and that, given the wife’s choice in a new home, she evidently didn’t have any ongoing fear of the ex-husband. The ex-wife, however, asked the judge to extend, rather than dissolve, the injunction.
The appeals court, in its opinion in favor of the ex-husband, stated that the wife lacked proof of a “continuing reasonable fear of being in imminent danger,” which is a legal requirement for keeping a domestic violence injunction in place. She didn’t allege any newer domestic violence or threats of violence. The proof she provided did not give the court any basis to conclude that the ex-wife had “an objectively reasonable fear of future domestic violence.” The mere fact that the ex-spouses might have contact with one another in the future wasn’t enough to warrant extending a domestic violence injunction.
In sum, the evidence presented to the trial court offered “no legally sufficient basis for the trial court to extend the injunction against domestic violence or to deny the motion to dissolve the injunction.”
If you have a domestic violence injunction against you and you are concerned about inadvertently running afoul of the order’s terms, don’t wait to take action. Reach out to the skilled South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A., who have been helping Florida spouses and partners for many years in dealing with their domestic violence issues. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation today.