FAQ About Restraining Orders and Other New Jersey Issues Involving Domestic Violence

How can I get my ex (or soon-to-be ex) to stop harassing me?                     domestic-violence-picture--300x200

To begin, you may ask the court to issue a temporary restraining order against your spouse or former spouse. If the judge believes that you are in danger of domestic violence, he or she can issue a temporary order that is good for 10 days. The first hearing is usually ex parte, with the judge hearing only the complainant’s side of the case.

What happens after the temporary restraining order is issued?

In order for the court to issue a final restraining order (FRO), there must be a finding that the party who desires the order has established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the opposing party has committed an act of domestic violence. This is the procedure required by New Jersey Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29(a).

What factors does the court look at in deciding whether domestic violence has occurred?    

The most common factors to be considered include any history of domestic violence between the parties (such as prior harassment, threats, or physical abuse), whether there is an immediate danger to person or property, the financial condition of the parties, the victim’s best interests, the best interests of the parties’ children, and whether there has been an order of protection entered in another jurisdiction.

What if my spouse refuses to leave my property but does not make any verbal threats?

“Defiant trespass,” as it is defined under New Jersey Stat. Ann. § 2C:18-3b, can result in a restraining order. A person “defiantly trespasses” by entering or remaining on property after being given notice to leave.

Does the judge have to give me a restraining order, or is it discretionary?

Under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), a judge has the discretion to decide whether a TRO is necessary to prevent abuse or protect a victim from immediate harm. In other words, not every dispute between spouses or former spouses is grounds for a restraining order. Many couples argue.  Sometimes the arguments get loud and may include cursing.  This is sometimes referred to as “marital contretemps”.  If the arguments escalate to the point where one person threatens the other, or the victim feels threatened that he or she may suffer harm, the pursuit of a restraining order may be appropriate.    Only in cases of a threat or an act of domestic violence is an order warranted. A court must make certain findings of fact and conclusions of law before entering a TRO.   Under New Jersey law, a case was decided known as Silver vs. Silver.  It basically held that a two prong test must be considered by a judge before the Judge decides to enter a final restraining order (an FRO).  The first prong requires the judge, after a trial, to conclude that an act of domestic violence has occurred.  However, that alone will not entitle the plaintiff to issuance of a final restraining order.  The Judge must then consider the second prong; that is, does the judge conclude that it is necessary for a final restraining order to be entered in order to prevent a future act of domestic violence from occurring?

If you believe you are in need of protection under the Prevention of Domestic Violence laws of New Jersey, you should contact an experienced attorney to help protect your interests.

If you believe you have been wrongly or falsely accused of committing an act of domestic violence, you need to present a vigorous defense to vindicate your rights. The consequences and repercussions to being found guilty of committing an act of domestic violence can have far reaching and significant consequences.  You should consult an experienced attorney at Goldstein Law Group to assist you.

Can I get a restraining order against someone that I am not married to (and have never been married to)?

Yes. Under the PDVA, a restraining order can be sought against a domestic partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, co-parent, someone with whom you have a child, or even a former roommate. Although most domestic relations cases stem from couples who were once romantically involved, this is not a requirement under the PDVA.

How can I talk to an attorney about a domestic relations matter?

The law firm of Goldstein Law Group, and our  team of 5 experienced attorneys has been serving the family law and domestic relations needs of New Jersey residents for over 3 decades , and we welcome the chance to assist you. Call us at 732-967-6777 and ask for an appointment. We can speak by telephone or via ZOOM video conference or Microsoft Teams.   We represent clients throughout  Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean Counties, as well as the surrounding area.

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