Victims of abuse can file injunctions for protection against their alleged abusers at no cost.
Domestic Violence documents can be filled out for free using TurboCourt interactive forms. After completing and notarizing the forms, e-file them at no cost through TurboCourt or bring the printed forms to the Justice Center, 2nd Floor.
How to File a Restraining Order
When filing a complaint, bring the following with you or have the following information available when using TurboCourt:
- Driver license or identification that includes your picture and signature. You may request at the time of filing to keep your address confidential if filing an injunction for domestic or sexual violence
- Specific dates of abuse or threats of abuse
- Specific locations where abuse or threats occurred
- Any previous or pending attempts to obtain an injunction for protection or any other cause of action in Lee County or other county/state and the results
You should be able to provide the following about the respondent (alleged abuser):
- Name of respondent
- Physical description of respondent, including height, weight, scars, date of birth, etc.
- Current residence address of respondent, including telephone number
- Respondent's employer and employer's address and phone number, if possible
- Respondent's vehicle information, including make, model, color, year and tag number
If the respondent is outside of Florida, you must provide the Clerk with the following information:
- Name, address and phone number of Sheriff's office having jurisdiction over where respondent may be found
- Service fee for that jurisdiction to serve a temporary injunction, and if that jurisdiction will accept a personal check from the petitioner for payment of service
- Petitioner will be responsible for payment of any Sheriff service fees outside of Florida.
After completing the petition, you must sign all documents under oath, and are subject to the penalty of perjury.
- The Clerk's office will immediately forward your file to the assigned judge. The court will determine whether your petition meets the necessary criteria for issuance of a temporary injunction, and a hearing will be scheduled requiring both parties to appear.
- Once the judge has rendered a decision, all documents will be returned to the Clerk's office for processing. A certified copy of the order and notice of hearing will be provided to you by mail. You should keep these documents with you at all times. A copy of the petition, financial affidavit, uniform child custody jurisdiction affidavit, notice of hearing and temporary injunction will be forwarded to the Sheriff of the county where the respondent resides. The Sheriff will serve the respondent as soon as possible.
- You and the respondent are required to appear at the hearing and testify under oath regarding the exact circumstances of the alleged incident(s). Answer all questions completely. The hearing will determine whether a cause of action exists for the court to enter a permanent injunction.
- You will be provided a copy of the appropriate order promptly after the hearing. This should be kept on you at all times. The Clerk's office will provide the appropriate forms should there be a need for you to modify, extend or enforce the provisions contained in the injunction.
Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence includes any aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking or any criminal offense resulting in a physical injury or death of one of the family or household members by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit.
Repeat Violence means two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within six months of the filing of the petition which are directed against the petitioner or petitioner's family.
Violence means assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping or false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.
Dating Violence means violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship will be based on these factors:
- A dating relationship must have existed within the past six months;
- The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
- The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. This does not include violence in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who only have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.
Sexual Violence means any one incident of:
- A lewd or lascivious act, as defined in Chapter 800, committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age;
- Luring or enticing a child, as described in Chapter 787;
- Sexual performance by a child, as described in Chapter 827; or
- Any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed, reduced, or dismissed by the State Attorney.
Stalking Violence means any one incident as listed below has occurred between individuals:
- "Harass" means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
- A pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time.
- A verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats received by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his/her safety.
- "Cyberstalk" means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.