Unified Family Court
The Domestic Violence Department is located in room 3.22 on the 3rd floor of the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach, as well as in the branch courthouses in Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Belle Glade (The Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens locations are closed Fridays). The department assists petitioners with the following:
- Filing for Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence, Protection Against Repeat Violence, Protection Against Dating Violence, Protection Against Sexual Violence, or Protection Against Stalking.
- Providing simplified forms and instructions for completion and filing.
- Assisting in filing Affidavits describing a violation of an injunction.
- Providing the Petitioner (the person filing) with two (2) certified copies of the Injunction entered by the Court, one of which is serviceable.
Free Online Forms
Domestic, Dating, Repeat and Sexual Violence, and Stalking forms are available at no cost online at www.flcourts.org.
Additional outreach is available at the following agencies:
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence as used in F.S. 741.28 - 741.31: "Domestic Violence" means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit.
"Family or household member" means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.
What is Repeat Violence?
Violence as used in Florida Statute 784.046, means any assault, battery, sexual battery, or stalking by a person against any other person. "Repeat Violence" means 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.
What is Dating Violence?
Dating violence means violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence means persons involved in sexually lewd acts, including any forcible felonies. The sexual violence must have been reported to a law enforcement agency.
What is Stalking?
A person who engages in a course of conduct (a series of acts over a period of time) directed at a specific person, which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose, commits the act of stalking. This can include cyberstalking - threats delivered by electronic communication.
Stalking, as used in F.S. 784.048: “A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking…”.
Filing a Complaint
When you wish to file a complaint, bring the following with you:
- Police reports or referral card furnished to you by the law enforcement officer, if any.
- Driver's license or identification which includes your picture and signature.
- Specific dates of abuse or threats of abuse.
- Specific locations where abuse or threats occurred.
- Mailing address of a friend or relative if you choose to keep your residence address "confidential" as provided by law.
- Picture of respondent to provide to Sheriff's Department for service purposes.
In addition, you should be able to provide:
- Full legal name of respondent (alleged abuser).
- Physical description of respondent, including height, weight, scars, date of birth, etc.
- Current residence address of respondent, including telephone number, social security number (if possible), and driver's license 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.
There is no filing fee for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Sexual Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking.
If the respondent is outside the State of Florida and service must be effected outside the State of Florida, you must be prepared to supply the Clerk with the following information:
- Name, address and phone number of Sheriff's Department 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 Petitioner for payment of service.
- Petitioner will be responsible for payment of any sheriff service fees outside the State of Florida.
Request assistance as early in the day as possible, preferably before noon, to allow sufficient time to complete paperwork and for the Court to review your paperwork.