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Can an injunction be vacated, dismissed, dissolved, modified or removed once it is in place?

You can vacate, dismiss, dissolve, modify or change an order of protection against domestic violence, injunction or restraining order, sometimes also called a stay-away order. Once a domestic violence injunction is in place, the only way to remove it is through the court. Often people seek out a domestic violence divorce or family lawyer after it is too late and the court has already entered an injunction. If circumstances have changed, you can ask the court to change the order of protection against domestic violence.  To get relief from the injunction, a party must show that the scenario underlying the injunction no longer exists so that the continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose.

To be entitled to a hearing to determine whether to dissolve an injunction, a person must show a change in the circumstances and file a motion to vacate, dissolve or modify the injunction or otherwise get rid of the injunction. This is true whether the injunction was sought in addition to a divorce or arrest for criminal offense of domestic battery. The injunction can only be removed, or changed by the Judge. If there is an open criminal case of domestic battery whether felony or misdemeanor, then a person may have to apply for a change of the conditions of pre-trial release as well.

Recently an Alachua County judge handling domestic violence injunctions summarily denied a motion without a hearing and was appealed. The respondent to the restraining order appealed the order summarily denying his motion to dissolve a domestic violence injunction in favor of his former wife. The motion alleged that circumstances between the parties have changed since the injunction was entered. Specifically, he alleged that the parties have interacted without violence for several years, that he now lives far away, and that the parties' only interaction relates to time-sharing exchanges of their child.

The First District Court of Appeal held that in light of these allegations, the trial court erred in summarily denying the motion to dissolve the injunction. A domestic violence injunction may be modified based on changed circumstances and a showing that the scenario underlying the injunction no longer exists so that continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose. The appeals court reversed the order denying the motion and required the court to have an evidentiary hearing.

The result of this for people with injunctions in place against them is if a change in circumstances can be shown, the court must set a hearing wherein you will be allowed to present evidence to try and vacate or dismiss the injunction. Please click, call or fill out the form to learn more about how we can help.

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1 Comment

Would you please send me the case cite for the 1st DCA case referenced in your blog post: Can an injunction be vacated, dismissed, modified or removed once it is in place? I believe the case discusses vacating a permanent injunction based on change of circumstances. I am particularly interested in whether no contact for an extended period of time (decades) is a "change of circumstances" sufficient to vacate the injunction. Thanks.

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