“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

                                                                –Mahatma Ghandi

The Economist Magazine, April 11-17, 2015, Page 28, reports

. . . That a new study in Behavioral Sciences and the Law finds that about 9% of American adults have a history of “impulsive, angry behavior” and possess a gun not required for their work.  Some 1.5% have anger issues and carry a gun outside the home. . .

It is clear that spouses going through a divorce need the protection of domestic violence injunctions on occasion.

On the other hand, the case of Hair v. Hair, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D682 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), is instructive.  This case involved §741.30(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2012), which provides that a family or household member may file a petition for protection against domestic violence if that person is “either the victim of domestic violence as defined in s.741.28 or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence.” §741.28(2), Fla. Stat. (2012).  In the case cited, the petitioner failed to present sufficient evidence that she was a victim of domestic violence or was in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.  The case involved a daughter’s seeking of an injunction against her mother.  (However, the same standard applies to spouses.)  The court stated that a daughter who does not wish to see or interact with her mother is not a basis for the issuance of a domestic violence restraining order.

The Hair case is illustrative of many cases I have observed in the domestic violence injunction return hearings that are held in Clearwater, Florida.  The difficulty facing a circuit judge is that while a domestic violence injunction may be required to protect someone’s safety, a certain percentage of these cases will involve the seeking of an injunction to gain an advantage.  For example, a party to a divorce may seek an injunction simply to gain exclusive use and possession of the marital home when otherwise the law would not provide that remedy.

Oftentimes, the only witnesses at these hearings are the parties themselves with no outside corroboration by other witnesses or other evidence.  It is only in the clear and necessary case that an injunction should be sought.  It should never be utilized to gain an advantage in a family law matter.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney