Restraining orders are issued by a judge and are intended to protect those who fear for their own safety. Essentially, a restraining order prohibits an individual from an action that is likely to cause harm; usually, a restraining order prevents any contact or communication between two or more people.
A restraining order is an injunction. A temporary restraining order can be granted immediately, without a hearing and without any notice to the opposing party. Temporary Restraining Orders are intended to last only until a hearing can take place. If a restraining order is violated, call 9-1-1 and report the situation. The violating party can be arrested immediately and taken into custody.
To obtain a restraining order, go to the Broward County Courthouse in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at 201 S.E. 6th Street, Room 248 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.. The process takes approximately three hours to complete and it's suggested you arrive early.
If you find yourself in a life-threatening domestic violence situation after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays or during the weekend and holidays, have no safe shelter, and wish to apply for an emergency domestic violence restraining order immediately, call (954) 463-0911 for assistance. This will connect you to Henderson Mental Health Center, Inc. - Crisis Services, where a clinician will gather information over the phone about your circumstances to see if you meet the requirements to apply for an emergency restraining order. If you qualify, you will be met at the courthouse by a domestic violence specialist who will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork. The specialist will then contact the duty judge who will decide whether or not to grant the emergency domestic violence restraining order. There is no charge or fee to obtain a restraining order.
A copy of your restraining order should always be in your possession. A copy should be on file with the police departments in whose jurisdictions you live and work, and filed with other counties where you regularly spend time.
Let your employer, neighbors, close friends and family know about the restraining order. Ask that they contact the police if they see the other party near you. If a restraining order is violated, call the police immediately and go to Room 248 to complete legal paperwork.