How restraining orders can influence custody decisions

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Family Law |

When couples fight, they often say and do things that they later wish they hadn’t. While one argument doesn’t have to destroy a relationship, over time interactions can get increasingly heated. When children are in the picture, however, accusations of abuse or violence could later harm one parent’s rights to custody or parenting time.

A restraining order, also called a protective order, is an injunction that the court issues for the purpose of protecting an individual from future perceived harm by another person. In Florida, an alleged victim may request a domestic violence protective order for acts of violence that may include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping or false imprisonment
  • Actions that result in physical injury or death

Protective orders are meant to safeguard a spouse or ex-spouse, a co-habitant, relatives, or the child’s other parent against imminent danger, and can be immediate and temporary, or permanent, depending on the situation and the judge’s decision.

Two types of domestic violence injunctions

In Florida, a person who files a petition for protection against violence is requesting court intervention through the issuance of an injunction. A Temporary Injunction provides immediate protection to the petitioner and their family and can bar the alleged abuser from entering the home or having any contact with them anywhere else, as well as order the accused to surrender any firearms in their possession. It will be in effect until the hearing begins and can last as long as 15 days.

The court will schedule a hearing, which will decide on the issuance of a final or Permanent Injunction based on the testimony of both sides. The order can be in effect until a specific date, in which case the court has the power to change or end it at either party’s request, or it may not have an expiration date.

Restraining orders and custody

Both types of injunctions can take custody and time-sharing rights away from the accused, and can even take away their right to enter or have use of their home. In future custody hearings, both sides may have very different recollections of the events that occurred in the past, but a record of a protective injunction against one party can result in a loss of or court-ordered restrictions to parenting time or custody.

For residents of Bartow and surrounding areas, understanding your options when you have been served an injunction is critical to knowing how to defend yourself against false accusations and protect your future parental rights.