Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Domestic violence is the use of power and control over another, most commonly in intimate relationships. Domestic violence can be in the form of physical violence as well as the threat of physical violence. It can also be repeated or serious behavior that causes the victim annoyance or alarm.
New Jersey law protects individuals from domestic violence. Under this law, victims of domestic violence can seek a restraining order protecting them from further harm and requiring the abuser to have no contact with the victim, as well as other possible orders such as custody and parenting time.
Example of specific acts of domestic violence that could be the basis of a restraining order might include:
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
- Terroristic threats
- False imprisonment
You can apply for a Temporary Restraining Order at your county’s Superior Court, Family Part, your local municipal court, or with the police (usually occurring when police are called to a domestic violence incident.)
If you are granted a Temporary Restraining Order (also called a “TRO,”) you will be scheduled for a Final Restraining Order Hearing before a judge at the Superior Court. The abuser will be served with the TRO and will also be required to appear at Court at the same time as you. If there were criminal charges brought at the time police were called to an incident, there may also be litigation at the municipal or other court.
At the Final Restraining Order hearing, which is a trial, both sides have an opportunity to tell his or her side of the incident, and to present evidence regarding what occurred and the history of domestic violence. Both parties have the right to be represented by an attorney. If the judge determines that an act of domestic violence of committed, the judge will then determine if the TRO should become a Final Restraining Order.
Our attorneys have experience representing parties in domestic violence Final Restraining Order hearings. Our firm is active in the Domestic Violence Working Group at the Mercer County family court. We work closely with therapists trained in domestic violence and anger management, as well as support organizations for victims of domestic violence.