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Family Law: Restraining Orders

Let a New Jersey Restraining Order Lawyer Help Protect Your Family from Domestic Violence

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act was enacted in New Jersey to provide important protections for victims of domestic abuse. This includes protection in the form of a restraining order, which prohibits the abuser from having any contact with the victim or engaging in other harassing or potentially harmful conduct. While the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act affords domestic violence victims the opportunity to obtain a restraining order in an ex parte proceeding (meaning that the abuser will not be present), handling the process efficiently and effectively requires the representation of an experienced New Jersey restraining order lawyer.

Our firm represents domestic violence victims statewide. We have multiple office locations throughout New Jersey, and our restraining order attorneys can take action immediately if that is what it takes to protect you or your loved one. No one deserves to fall victim to abuse, and no one should have to live in fear in their own home. If you need help, we are here for you, and we urge you to contact us right away.

Understanding the Protections Afforded by New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act

New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act addresses all aspects of restraining orders for domestic abuse. This includes specifying the illegal acts that constitute domestic violence, identifying the individuals who are entitled to protection under the statute, outlining the process for obtaining a restraining order, specifying the relief that a court may grant in a restraining order, and establishing the consequences for violating a domestic violence restraining order.

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act provides that the following acts constitute domestic violence when committed against a “protected person”:

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

Under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a “protected person” is anyone who falls into one of the following categories:

  • A current or former spouse
  • Another adult who is a present or former member of the abuser’s household
  • An emancipated minor who is a present or former member of the abuser’s household
  • A current or former boyfriend or girlfriend
  • The parent of a shared child
  • An individual with whom the abuser expects to have a child if the abuser or the victim is pregnant

A New Jersey Restraining Order Lawyer Can Help You Obtain the Order After Domestic Violence

If you need to obtain a domestic violence restraining order, a New Jersey restraining order lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can help you understand your options and take all necessary steps on your behalf. Our attorneys are intimately familiar with the process, and we can provide guidance every step of the way.

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act establishes unique and expedited procedures for police, prosecutors and judges to respond to allegations of domestic violence. This includes the entry of a restraining order against the abuser right away, and usually without providing the abuser with notice or an opportunity to respond. If a judge issues a domestic violence restraining order based on credible allegations from a victim, the order will immediately prohibit the abuser from having any contact with the victim, directly or indirectly, and will generally contain other prohibitions as well.

Understanding the Process for Obtaining a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in New Jersey

There are two main steps involved in obtaining a domestic violence restraining order in New Jersey. First, the victim must file a complaint. During weekdays and normal courthouse hours, the complaint is filed with the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court. On weekends, holidays, in the evenings or other times when the courthouse is not open, victims can 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 local law enforcement for service upon the abuser and to the police in the municipality where the abuser lives.

Second, once the TRO has been issued, the court will schedule a Domestic Violence Hearing. At this hearing, both the victim and the abuser have the opportunity to testify and present evidence and witnesses. Upon hearing the evidence from both sides, the judge will determine whether a final order will be entered. Like the initial TRO request, this is an extremely important stage in the process, and it is essential to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced New Jersey restraining order lawyer.

If the court determines during the Domestic Violence Hearing that the abuser in fact committed an act of domestic violence, then it will issue a final restraining order which may contain protections above and beyond those contained in the original TRO. For example, a domestic violence restraining order may include the following additional forms of 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

The court may also order the abuser to pay a civil penalty of between $50 and $500 which will be contributed to New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Victims' Fund.

Our New Jersey Restraining Orders Lawyers Can Help Protect You or Your Loved One in New Jersey

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. This final restraining order will be permanent unless and until it is later dissolved by a judge following a subsequent court proceeding. 

Once a restraining order is in place, the abuser must strictly comply. Violating a domestic violence restraining order is a serious offense in New Jersey, and the penalties can include loss of additional rights in addition to possible fines and jail time. 

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence in New Jersey

There are several free and low-cost resources available to victims of domestic violence in New Jersey. Here are some links that you may find helpful:

If you need help right away, you should call 911, and we also encourage you to contact us immediately. While the police can arrest your abuser, they cannot assist you with obtaining a restraining order. Our New Jersey restraining order lawyer can file for a TRO on your behalf right away, and we can help ensure that you and your family are protected.

Speak with a New Jersey Restraining Order Lawyer in Confidence Today

If you have questions or would like more information about filing for a domestic violence restraining order in New Jersey, please contact us to speak with one of our restraining order attorneys in confidence. Call Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. at 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online to get the legal help you need today.

 

 

 

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