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2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
39.504 Injunction; penalty.—
(1) At any time after a protective investigation has been initiated pursuant to part III of this chapter, the court, upon the request of the department, a law enforcement officer, the state attorney, or other responsible person, or upon its own motion, may, if there is reasonable cause, issue an injunction to prevent any act of child abuse. Reasonable cause for the issuance of an injunction exists if there is evidence of child abuse or if there is a reasonable likelihood of such abuse occurring based upon a recent overt act or failure to act. If there is a pending dependency proceeding regarding the child whom the injunction is sought to protect, the judge hearing the dependency proceeding must also hear the injunction proceeding regarding the child.
(2) The petitioner seeking the injunction shall file a verified petition, or a petition along with an affidavit, setting forth the specific actions by the alleged offender from which the child must be protected and all remedies sought. Upon filing the petition, the court shall set a hearing to be held at the earliest possible time. Pending the hearing, the court may issue a temporary ex parte injunction, with verified pleadings or affidavits as evidence. The temporary ex parte injunction pending a hearing is effective for up to 15 days and the hearing must be held within that period unless continued for good cause shown, which may include obtaining service of process, in which case the temporary ex parte injunction shall be extended for the continuance period. The hearing may be held sooner if the alleged offender has received reasonable notice.
(3) Before the hearing, the alleged offender must be personally served with a copy of the petition, all other pleadings related to the petition, a notice of hearing, and, if one has been entered, the temporary injunction. If the petitioner cannot locate the alleged offender for service after a diligent search pursuant to the same requirements as in s. 39.503 and the filing of an affidavit of diligent search, the court may enter the injunction based on the sworn petition and any affidavits. At the hearing, the court may base its determination on a sworn petition, testimony, or an affidavit and may hear all relevant and material evidence, including oral and written reports, to the extent of its probative value even though it would not be competent evidence at an adjudicatory hearing. Following the hearing, the court may enter a final injunction. The court may grant a continuance of the hearing at any time for good cause shown by any party. If a temporary injunction has been entered, it shall be continued during the continuance.
(4) If an injunction is issued under this section, the primary purpose of the injunction must be to protect and promote the best interests of the child, taking the preservation of the child’s immediate family into consideration.
(a) The injunction applies to the alleged or actual offender in a case of child abuse or acts of domestic violence. The conditions of the injunction shall be determined by the court, which may include ordering the alleged or actual offender to:
1. Refrain from further abuse or acts of domestic violence.
2. Participate in a specialized treatment program.
3. Limit contact or communication with the child victim, other children in the home, or any other child.
4. Refrain from contacting the child at home, school, work, or wherever the child may be found.
5. Have limited or supervised visitation with the child.
6. Vacate the home in which the child resides.
7. Comply with the terms of a safety plan implemented in the injunction pursuant to s. 39.301.
(b) Upon proper pleading, the court may award the following relief in a temporary ex parte or final injunction:
1. Exclusive use and possession of the dwelling to the caregiver or exclusion of the alleged or actual offender from the residence of the caregiver.
2. Temporary support for the child or other family members.
3. The costs of medical, psychiatric, and psychological treatment for the child incurred due to the abuse, and similar costs for other family members.
This paragraph does not preclude an adult victim of domestic violence from seeking protection for himself or herself under s. 741.30.
(c) The terms of the final injunction shall remain in effect until modified or dissolved by the court. The petitioner, respondent, or caregiver may move at any time to modify or dissolve the injunction. Notice of hearing on the motion to modify or dissolve the injunction must be provided to all parties, including the department. The injunction is valid and enforceable in all counties in the state.
(5) Service of process on the respondent shall be carried out pursuant to s. 741.30. The department shall deliver a copy of any injunction issued pursuant to this section to the protected party or to a parent, caregiver, or individual acting in the place of a parent who is not the respondent. Law enforcement officers may exercise their arrest powers as provided in s. 901.15(6) to enforce the terms of the injunction.
(6) Any person who fails to comply with an injunction issued pursuant to this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(7) The person against whom an injunction is entered under this section does not automatically become a party to a subsequent dependency action concerning the same child.
History.—s. 1, ch. 84-226; s. 1, ch. 91-224; s. 228, ch. 95-147; s. 10, ch. 95-228; s. 65, ch. 98-403; s. 28, ch. 99-193; s. 11, ch. 2008-245; s. 9, ch. 2012-178; s. 14, ch. 2014-224; s. 9, ch. 2017-151.
Note.—Former s. 39.4055.