New Jersey laws protect victims of domestic violence through protective orders, more commonly called “restraining orders.” The process to obtain a court order to prevent further abuse can be complicated, and the respondent has the right to mount a defense since the consequences of being subject to a restraining order can be severe. An experienced domestic violence lawyer from Pontoriero Family Law, LLC can answer any questions you have about the process of obtaining a restraining order and can take the necessary steps to protect you.
Different Types of Restraining Orders in New Jersey
There are generally two types of restraining orders in New Jersey for victims of domestic violence, which include:
- Temporary restraining orders – The court can issue a temporary restraining order immediately when someone is at risk of domestic violence and asks the court for this protection. A temporary restraining order only lasts until the hearing, which is typically within ten days. Only the victim needs to be present to obtain this type of order.
- Final restraining orders – The temporary restraining order can be converted to a final restraining order if the judge determines that sufficient grounds exist at the hearing. The order is indefinite unless either party requests to end or modify it.
What Do Restraining Orders Do in New Jersey
Restraining orders can have a dramatic impact on both the petitioner (the person requesting the order) and the respondent (the person defending against it). It can also impact their families.
Depending on the type of restraining order and its wording, New Jersey restraining orders might order the respondent not to:
- Have any contact with the victim, their family, or their work, including in person, by phone, mail, online, or other means
- Harass or stalk the victim
- Own or possessing firearms
- Come within a certain distance from the victim
- Abuse the victim further
The court can also make family law orders, such as:
- Child custody
- Possession of the shared residence
- Child support
- Award of attorney’s fees
- Award of costs caused by the abuse, such as paying for household bills, medical treatment, loss of earnings, or moving expenses
- Counseling or substance abuse treatment
The respondent may be ordered to pay fines and may wind up on a domestic violence registry.
Who Can Get a Restraining Order in New Jersey?
Domestic violence restraining orders are limited to certain people in New Jersey. Generally, these orders protect individuals who have suffered acts of domestic violence from:
- A current or former spouse
- Someone who lives or lived in the same household
- Someone with whom they have a dating relationship
- Someone with whom they have a child with
How to Get a Restraining Order
You can file a petition for a restraining order in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county where you live, where the respondent lives, or where any domestic violence occurred. If the court is closed, you can receive help to file a restraining order at a local police station.
You will need to complete the necessary forms and request a temporary restraining order. Provide as much detail as possible about the abuse or threats of abuse. Do not sign the forms until instructed to do so. The judge reviews the petition and determines if there are grounds to issue a temporary restraining order.
A full hearing will be scheduled where the defendant will have the right to be represented by legal counsel. You must attend the hearing, or the case can be dismissed. You can hire a lawyer to represent you during this process.
What Happens if the Perpetuator Violates the Order of Protection?
If the abuser violates the order of protection you can notify the court and it can enforce the order. If the perpetrator contacts you or harms you, notify the police immediately. They can begin the process of filing a criminal complaint for contempt.
Contact a Knowledgeable New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer for Assistance
If you are a victim of domestic violence and would like assistance in filing for a restraining order, a domestic violence lawyer from Pontoriero Family Law, LLC can help. Susan Pontoriero has extensive experience in family law, including fighting for and defending restraining orders and modifying child custody orders based on abuse. Set up a confidential consultation by calling (732) 785-9700.
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Brick, NJ 08723