In New Jersey, domestic violence is more than just physical assault. The domestic violence law covers acts such as harassment, criminal mischief, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and stalking, in addition to simple and aggravated assault, simple and aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and attempted murder or homicide.
If you feel that you have been a victim of one or more of the acts cited above and the perpetrator is someone you are related to by blood, marriage, is a current or former household member of yours or is someone you share a child with, you can apply for a Temporary Restraining Order in family court or at your local police station. Generally speaking, TROs are issued with only the testimony of the victim and are emergency orders. After a TRO is issued, the court will schedule a follow-up hearing to determine whether the temporary order should be made final. At that time, the defendant will be able to present his or her side of events and both sides will be able to present witnesses and documentary evidence supporting their case.
If the judge decides to make the Temporary Restraining Order into a Final Restraining Order, the defendant will be permanently restrained from contacting or communicating directly with the victim and anyone else listed on the restraining order. The defendant will also be restrained from using other people to contact or communicate with the victim. In New Jersey, FROs are permanent unless the victim decides to dismiss. In some cases, the defendant may be able to get the restraining dismissed via appeal, motion for reconsideration or a showing that the order is no longer necessary-the latter being much more difficult to do than the formers.
Having an FRO against you can impact employment, custody and visitation with children and extracurricular activities like hunting-those with FROS generally cannot own guns. A plaintiff who is successful in obtaining an FRO can get punitive and compensatory damages for the abuse suffered, custody, support, exclusive possession of the parties’ residence, an order for defendant to maintain the household expenses, etc.
Because of the impact to defendants and reliefs offered to plaintiffs in the Restraining Order process, it is usually best for both parties to seek the services of an attorney to handle their case.
If you are involved in a domestic violence case and would like to discuss your case in more detail, please contact the Key Legal Assistance Center at 732-377-2030 for a free initial consultation.