In 1991, the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (NJPDVA) was created to protect victims of abuse throughout the state. This statute is gender neutral and provides protection for both men and women seeking to invoke its protections. In order to qualify for these protections, you and the alleged abuser must fit into one of the following categories:
- Current or former spouse;
- Current or former household member;
- A person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship; or
- A person with whom the victim has a child with, or is expecting a child.
Also for the NJPDVA to apply, the incident of domestic violence must fall into any of the following categories of acts:
- Criminal Coercion
- Terroristic Threats
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
- Contempt of a Domestic Violence Order
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal Sexual Contract
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Cyber Harassment
- Any Other Crime Involving Risk of Death or Serious Bodily Injury
These acts are collectively considered “Predicate Acts” of domestic violence, which occur immediately prior to the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). While one act of domestic violence, falling into the above categories, can be sufficient for the issuance of a restraining order, more often than not, there must also be prior history between the parties to obtain same. Many time, victims of domestic violence are distraught when seeking a TRO and might not consider all of the events leading up to their seeking protection, and later, the restraining order will need to be amended to include additional prior history.
Upon the issuance of a TRO, which provides protections for the victim from the alleged abuser, their children, and their residence, the Superior Court will schedule a hearing date not more than 14 days later to determine whether or not a Final Restraining Order (FRO) should issue to protect the victim. If a FRO is entered, in New Jersey, it is a permanent order and will not be dissolved or expire on a date in the future absent an application made by the parties.
It is, therefore, extremely important to seek the assistance of competent counsel when addressing the very real and serious consequences of a Final Restraining Order. The process of obtaining a Final Restraining Order can be difficult. It is also daunting to defend yourself against the issuance of a Final Restraining Order. Accordingly, in the event you find yourself in need of assistance, contact the Law offices of Shane and White, LLC to discuss this confusing process and reach a fitting resolution.