What it Takes to Obtain an Injunction Against Repeat Violence Under Florida Law

A South Florida wife and her husband’s alleged lover had a contentious and sometimes violent relationship with each other. That hostile relationship led each woman to seek and obtain injunctions against repeat violence against the other. The wife, however, got the injunction against her thrown out on appeal. The problem with that injunction was one of proof and statutory requirements. Specifically, the single incident of the wife battering the other woman and the single incident of following the other woman weren’t enough, under the statute’s requirements, to warrant an injunction. While this was a case related to an injunction against repeat violence, the lesson from this case (namely, the importance of challenging injunctions when the evidence doesn’t meet the statutory requirements) applies equally well to injunctions against domestic violence.

The facts of the recent South Florida case trace the difficult travails of part of one woman’s marriage. The woman was allegedly trying to reconcile with her husband, while, at the same time, according to her court filings, another woman was having a sexual affair with the husband. The other woman’s “incessant presence,” along with the affair, caused great tension between the women. According to both women, that tension became violent. According to each woman, the other was the perpetrator of the violence.

Faced with two competing petitions for injunctions against repeat violence, one filed by each woman, a Broward County trial judge decided to grant both petitions and issue injunctions commanding each woman to refrain from contact with the other. The judge, in reaching this decision, determined that both women “were unable to control themselves around each other” and that “in order to maintain civility, it was necessary to enter” both of the injunctions.

The wife appealed, contesting the injunction entered against her, and she won. The appeals court acknowledged that, based upon the facts of the case, the trial judge may well have been correct in concluding that the women couldn’t control themselves and that only court orders commanding them to stop would make their negative interaction cease. The wife was still correct, though, in demanding that the appeals court overturn the injunction against her. This is because Florida has some very specific criteria that must be met before the issuance of an injunction against repeat violence is proper. Specifically, Section 784.046 requires that the victim have suffered “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within 6 months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.”

The case against the wife involved one incident in which she battered the other woman and one incident in which she followed the other woman. This wasn’t enough. Had the other woman provided proof that the wife repeatedly followed her (or repeatedly harassed or cyberstalked her), that would have qualified as stalking, and she would have had the two incidents required by the statute for the issuance of an injunction. However, the record in this case presented only one isolated incident of the wife following the other woman, so that did not meet the standard for an incident of violence or stalking under Section 784.046, which meant there was not enough evidence to support an injunction against the wife.

In many areas of music and popular culture, scenarios related to marital infidelity and related hostility can sometimes produce depictions that are light, whimsical, or even comical. In real life, these things are profoundly serious. If you’ve been a victim of violence, whether at the hands of a partner, a relative, or someone else, you may be entitled to obtain an injunction against violence to protect you. Whether you seek an injunction for protection against domestic violence, an injunction against repeat violence, or other injunctive relief, you need capable counsel on your side. You undoubtedly know the facts of your case, but a knowledgeable lawyer can help you take those facts and apply them to the law to give you a strong case. The diligent South Florida domestic violence attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. have spent many years representing clients and helping them with their injunction against domestic violence cases. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.

More blog posts:

Isolated Three-Year-Old Incident Wasn’t Enough to Allow for Domestic Violence Injunction Against Florida Woman, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Feb. 17, 2017

What You Need to Prove to the Judge to Obtain a Domestic Violence Injunction in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Nov. 18, 2016