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Domestic Violence Injunction Process

If you are a victim of domestic violence, whether you have been physically attacked or you are in fear that you will be, you can seek protection from the Courts in the form of an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence. That process is initiated by the filing of a Petition in the courthouse. When filling out a Petition for Injunction, you should always start with the most recent incident and then work backwards. You should be detailed in explaining in the Petition exactly what happened, what was said, whether or not children were present, what injuries you may have sustained, and you fear of imminent danger. You will swear to the truthfulness of the statements in your Petition.

If you have children with the Respondent, you should ask for child support in your Petition. If you have a home with the Respondent, you should ask for exclusive use of the home for yourself and the children. If you do not ask for these, you may not get them.

A judge will read your Petition, usually on the day it is filed, and determine whether the sworn allegations warrant the judge issuing a temporary injunction with a requirement for a return hearing. If so, you will receive a certified copy of the Temporary Injunction and the Respondent will be served by the sheriff with all of the paperwork, including your Petition, the Notice for the return hearing and the Temporary Injunction. The terms of the Temporary Injunction will require the Respondent to stay at least 500 feet away from you and prohibit him or her from coming to your place of work, your school, the children’s school or day care and other places.

The return hearing has to be held within 15 days of the date the Respondent is served. The judge at the return hearing will determine, after hearing all the testimony and considering the evidence, whether the injunction should be entered permanently or for a period less than that. The judge will also order child support and may order some kind of visitation schedule, if you asked for these in your Petition. The judge could also determine that there is not enough evidence to enter a Final Judgment of Injunction and dismiss the case entirely.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can help you through this process, ensure that your evidence is presented fully to the judge and help you achieve an outcome that protects you and your children.