Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Domestic Violence

What does it take to dissolve an injunction in Florida? Essentially, the movant must show there has been a change in circumstances such that the underlying situation which gave rise to the injunction no longer exists. We see this concept analyzed in the case Trice v. Trice, 2D17-3673 (Fla. 2d DCA March 20, 2019).

The parties were previously married. At the time the former wife filed for divorce, she filed a petition for an injunction against domestic violence claiming the former husband trapped her in a garage with their infant daughter, pulled a gun on her and threatened to shoot her in front of their daughter. Criminal charges were also brought against the former husband at that time which caused him to assert the Fifth Amendment at the injunction hearing. As a result, the trial court entered the injunction because there was unopposed testimony from the former wife as to what happened.

Six years later, the former husband filed a motion to dissolve the injunction. Since the injunction was entered, the former husband had moved to Kansas and was applying for a job in law enforcement. The criminal case against him ended in an acquittal. The former wife was residing in Japan and the former husband had not had contact with her or the minor child since the divorce, except for an incident in which they accidentally saw each other in a parking lot closer to the time the injunction was entered. The former husband alleged the injunction was preventing him from obtaining employment in the law enforcement field.

The former wife opposed dissolution of the injunction, maintaining she remained in fear of the former husband. She pointed to the incident 5 years earlier in which they ran into each other in the parking lot unintentionally. The trial court denied the former husband’s motion, holding, “[T]here hasn't been a change in circumstances that relate[s] to this issue, such that the . . . dissolution of the injunction is warranted.” the former husband appealed.

The appellate court overturned the trial court’s order, holding “Under these facts, the trial court's conclusion that these circumstances were not ‘such that dissolution of the injunction is warranted’ could only have rested on a theoretical possibility that Mr. Trice—after six years with no attempt at contact with Ms. Trice, living far away from Ms. Trice, and no longer sharing marriage or employment with Ms. Trice—might someday seek Ms. Trice out and harm her. To the extent the trial court impliedly found that this possibility of Mr. Trice contacting and harming Ms. Trice was something more than theoretical, it abused its discretion because there is no competent substantial evidence in the record to support such a finding.”

If you need help dissolving an injunction or defending against the dissolution of one, contact a Miami domestic violence lawyer to assist you. Through a consultation, you can learn how the law applies to your case.