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Family Law: Restraining Orders

New Jersey Restraining Order Lawyer

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act was enacted in New Jersey to address domestic abuse and provide civil remedies for victims in the form of a restraining order. Though the protection of victims is important, it is also important to protect the rights of those who may be falsely accused of the acts that lead to restraining order. If you find yourself facing a restraining order, you need to contact an experienced New Jersey restraining order lawyer as quickly as possible. 

Understanding the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act

New Jersey's Domestic Violence Act addresses the definition of domestic violence, who is a protected party (meaning who can receive a restraining order), how to obtain a restraining order (including the relief a court may grant in a restraining order), and the consequences should a party fail to abide by the restraining order.

The Act specifies that domestic violence is the occurrence of one or more of the following:

  • Homicide
  • Assault
  • Terroristic threats
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal restraint
  • False imprisonment
  • Sexual assault
  • Criminal sexual contact
  • Lewdness
  • Criminal mischief
  • Burglary
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Harassment
  • Stalking

If you are thinking about obtaining a restraining order, a New Jersey restraining order attorney at the law firm of Helmer, Conley & Kasselman can discuss your options with you. Our attorneys are knowledgeable of the process and can provide helpful guidance. In order to file for a restraining order, the plaintiff has to have a certain relationship with the defendant. A protected person under the Domestic Violence Act is someone who is at least eighteen years old and has been subjected to domestic abuse by a spouse, former spouse, or any present or former household member. A victim of domestic violence in a dating relationship may also seek a restraining order.

Steps in Obtaining a Restraining Order in New Jersey

The PDVA establishes unique and expedited procedures for police, prosecutors and courts responding to allegations of domestic violence. This includes the entry of a restraining order against the accused initially and usually without providing the accused with notice or an opportunity to respond. If a judge grants such an order based on credible allegations by the alleged victim, it will typically prohibit the accused from having any contact with the alleged victim, directly or indirectly, among other possible limitations on the accused’s rights.

What is the Process for Implementing a Restraining Order in New Jersey?

There are two steps in obtaining a restraining order. First, victims must file a complaint with the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court during weekdays and normal courthouse hours. On the weekends, holidays, evenings or other times that the courthouse is not open, a victim may seek protection through a Municipal Court Judge. At this stage, the court may enter a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in favor of the victim if the judge determines that an imminent danger of domestic violence exists. The TRO will immediately be sent to the law enforcement agency for service upon the defendant and to the police in the municipality where the defendant lives.

Second is the Domestic Violence Hearing where both the plaintiff and defendant are permitted to testify and provide witnesses to determine whether a final order shall be entered. A final order may include the following relief:

  • Restraining the defendant from engaging in further acts of domestic violence
  • Granting the accuser exclusive possession of the residence or household
  • Limiting or placing other restrictions on the accused’s parenting time
  • Requiring counseling and/or anger management
  • Restraining the accused from entering the residence, property, school, place of employment of the victim
  • Awarding the victim emergency monetary relief, such as child support
  • Awarding temporary custody of a child to the accuser
  • Preventing the defendant from possessing firearms or weapons and/or ordering the search and seizure of any weapons
  • Restraining the defendant against stalking, following, or threatening to harm the protected party
  • Possible deportation for non-US citizens

If the court after a hearing finds that the defendant committed an act of domestic violence, a civil penalty shall be ordered against the defendant between $50 and $500 and submitted to the Domestic Violence Victims' Fund.

Without a New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer on Your Side, You Could Immediately Lose Your Rights

Ultimately, the accused will have an opportunity to respond and fight the extension of any temporary restraining order issued against him or her. This means that the temporary restraining order can be dismissed, but it also means that a final restraining order can be entered, one that is permanent unless later dissolved by a judge. 

One a restraining order is in place, the accused will have to be careful to not act in a way that could lead to an arrest for violating the restraining order. The penalties for this arrest are significant and the accused would lose even more of their rights. 

If you need more information or need to fight the limitations of a restraining order, contact a New Jersey restraining order lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman today to schedule a consultation. Call 1-877-Helmer1 now! 


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