Restraining orders and injunctions for protection against domestic violence…do they really work?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

With couples everywhere and in every socioeconomic level having “discussions” about money and the recent economy, things are bound to get heated.  Alcohol use, drug abuse, and just plain stress can cause normally rational people to do irrational acts. 

If you find yourself in a situation where your spouse is throwing soda cans in your direction, busting through locked doors, putting a fist through a wall, or dumping the orchid on the white bed linens, it is time to protect yourself by phoning the police AND pressing charges.

In Palm Beach County, Florida, the police will remove the wrongdoing spouse to overnight jail, no questions asked.  It is up to the remaining spouse to immediately seek a restraining order or order for protection against domestic violence.  To be successful, one must cite “immediate fear of imminent harm”.  You can’t do that three days after the blow up…you have to file it almost immediately.

Do they work?  The answer is sometimes.  If your spouse exhibited unusual behavior just for the moment, due to out of control anger or rage, he or she may come to his or her senses and be very remorseful, realizing what was done was totally wrong.   In these types of cases, restraining orders do work keeping the perpetrator at bay, because they realize the consequences of violating one.  However, in my practice, I have seen more severe situations where mental illness plays a big part.

If the violent spouse is an addict, has uncontrolled bi polar disorder, has visions of the devil in the head, or some other severe mental illness, the sufferer does not pay attention to restraining orders.  They just can’t control themselves.  Often the victim is either victimized again and again, or worse, is killed or severely harmed, regardless of the existence of a restraining order.

Palm Beach County provides safe houses, where a spouse and children can go secretly to be safe from the perpetrator.  For more information about this topic speak to one of the attorneys at the Firm by calling 561-835-9091 or click on the ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. web site at

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