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The basics of a no-contact order

Whether you are deciding to have a no contact order issued against someone, or someone has, or plans to issue a no-contact order against you, there is a lot at stake. A no-contact order is often referred to as a restraining order and it restricts various forms of contact between two people.

The terms will give various limitations on what, if any interaction is allowed between the two people in the order, both the plaintiff (the person initiating the order) and the defendant ( the person who has been served with the order).

Traditionally, a no-contact order will specify a number of feet or yards that the defendant must keep between themselves and the plaintiff. It may also prohibit or limit phone, email and social media communication. If children are involved, it may include provisions for how visitation with the children will be handled.

Temporary vs. long-term order

In Florida, most no-contact orders are initially issued as temporary orders and are designed to get a person who feels threatened by a spouse, significant other or person in another qualifying relationship to be able to feel safe and see that their children are safe as well.

To file a temporary order, a plaintiff needs to ask for an emergency hearing, which will help determine the necessary terms of the order. These will go into effect as soon as the order is served to the defendant and the terms will need to be abided by at least until an full hearing can be scheduled, within 30 days.

It is at this hearing that it will be decided whether the no contact order should continue and what types of modifications should be made. Modifications may call for a continued no-contact order, or it may permit a certain amount of "peaceful" contact. They may also ask the defendant to surrender firearms or undergo counseling or anger management. If the plaintiff and defendant share a home, the defendant may also be asked to move out of the home. Long-term orders can be put into place for up to a year, and can be reviewed at that time to see if continuing them is necessary.

Grounds for a no-contact order

No contact orders are issued when there is domestic or family violence between current or former spouses, relatives by blood or marriage, co-habitant and former co-habitant, or parents. Examples include assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or criminal offenses that result in physical injury, from bruising to hospitalization.

Domestic violence can also be categorized as repeat, dating or sexual violence. Repeat violence is defined as two instances of violence against a person or their family member, sexual battery or acts committed in the presence of a child younger than 16 or coercion for a child to perform a sexual act or a forcible sexual act or attempt at an act.

Regardless of whether someone needs to obtain an order or contest one, he or she should have experienced counsel at hand.

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