Questions about Restraining Orders in New Jersey
Domestic Violence Attorneys Help Victims and the Unfairly Accused
Restraining orders are intended to protect domestic violence victims from the risk of harassment, physical injury or death at the hands of spouses, former spouses, domestic partners and dating relationships. These protective orders are issued by the New Jersey courts when evidence shows that the person requesting a restraining order may be in danger of further harm.
Read on to learn more general information about restraining orders in the state, including how to get one and how to have one removed. For answers to questions specific to your personal situation, contact Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC at (201) 880-9770.
How to Get a Restraining Order in New Jersey
You can get a restraining order in New Jersey by filing a complaint for an order at the Domestic Violence Unit of the Superior Court/Family Division. You can file in the county where the domestic violence happened, or where you or the person who committed the violence lives. You’ll fill out the appropriate paperwork and be interviewed by a domestic violence staff member before going to a hearing before a judge. If you want to get a restraining order outside of courthouse hours, you can contact your local police who will reach out to a judge for you. You can also contact our family law attorneys in Bergen County for assistance in getting a restraining order.
What qualifies for a restraining order in New Jersey?
What qualifies for a restraining order in New Jersey? There are a variety of acts committed against victims that qualify. Acts include the following:
- Assault and sexual assault
- Criminal restraint
- Criminal sexual contact
- Criminal trespassing
- False imprisonment
This list is not all-inclusive. If you are wondering whether an act against you qualifies as domestic violence, or if you believe you are innocent of an accusation of domestic violence, we can help you understand your situation and rights under the law.
What does a restraining order do?
What a restraining order does depends on the individual situation. There is no one-size-fits-all order. A restraining order can order the abuser not to have any contact with the victim and to stay away from their home, school, workplace and other specific locations. If a couple shares a home, a restraining order can order the abuser to leave. It can order a police escort to remove personal items from a home that the abuser and abused share. It can also order the abuser not to have contact with family members and friends of the victim, or to have anyone else stalk or harass the victim on their behalf. A restraining order can have very targeted provisions, as necessary to protect the abused. Restraining orders may also include provisions ordering child support and other financial support, substance abuse counseling and other things, depending on the circumstances.
What proof do you need for a restraining order?
When seeking a restraining order, you must provide proof that it is needed. In addition to telling your story describing the physical abuse, stalking or other behavior that has driven you to seek a restraining order, proof could include:
- Hospital and doctor records describing injuries
- Threatening text messages, phone calls or emails
- Statements from people who witnessed domestic violence and injuries
- Police reports if law enforcement was called
- Photographs showing injuries
- The criminal or violent background of the offender.
Accused parties have the right to defend themselves at the restraining order hearing, so the stronger your evidence, the more likely you’ll be able to get a permanent order.
What types of restraining orders are there?
There are two general types of restraining orders in New Jersey: temporary restraining orders and permanent, or final, restraining orders. Temporary restraining orders are granted on an immediate basis until a final restraining order can be put in place. Final restraining orders are permanent, meaning they can last forever unless one of the parties successfully petitions to have a final order removed.
How do I get a temporary restraining order in New Jersey?
To get a temporary restraining order in New Jersey, you must convince the judge you’re in immediate danger. People accused of domestic violence typically aren’t present during petitions for temporary restraining orders, so the judge will issue the order (or not) based only on what you tell them. Once a temporary order is granted, there will be a hearing in approximately 10 days for a permanent restraining order. The accused person has a right to be present at that hearing to tell their side of things. Once the judge listens to both sides, they will determine whether to issue a permanent restraining order. If the accused person doesn’t appear and it’s shown that they received the notice to appear, a permanent order may be issued without their input.
How do I remove a restraining order in New Jersey?
A temporary restraining order lasts only until the hearing for a final order. To have a final restraining order dismissed in New Jersey, you will need to go to court. Even if you feel the person you have the order against is no longer a threat or you have reconciled, you cannot have contact with that individual without going to court and having the final restraining order removed. If you do have contact, the party against whom the order was issued may be subject to arrest, depending on the circumstances. If you have a final restraining order against you, you can have it removed only with the consent of the victim.
How can I have a final restraining order against me dismissed?
As stated in the answer to the previous question, the person who had the order brought against you must consent to its being dismissed. Here are some of the other factors the court will consider in deciding whether to remove a final restraining order:
- Whether the person who brought the order against you fears you
- Your current relationship with your spouse, former spouse or other party
- Whether you have contempt convictions for violating the order
- Your use of alcohol or drugs
- Your age and health
- Whether you have been violent with other people
- Whether you have attended counseling
- Whether there are any other restraining orders issued against you
- Anything else the court deems is relevant to consider.
You must also show the judge, who will be the same judge who issued the initial order if they are still with the court, that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was issued. If you had a restraining order issued against you that you feel was unwarranted or your situation has changed, our domestic violence attorney can advise you more closely about removing it based on the details of your case.
What are the restraining order laws in New Jersey?
The domestic violence and restraining order laws in New Jersey are set out under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 ( N.J.S.A 2C:25-17 through 35). Section 23, “Dissemination of Notice to Victims of Domestic Violence,” requires police officers called to domestic violence scenes to explain to victims that they “have the right to go to court to get an order called a temporary restraining order, also called a TRO, which may protect you from more abuse by your attacker.” It goes on to describe the types of provisions that a judge can order in a temporary restraining order. Section 28 addresses the filing of complaints against alleged abusers that can result in getting a restraining order. N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9 is the law that applies to restraining order violations.
What are the restraining order requirements in New Jersey?
The requirements for getting a restraining order in New Jersey include convincing a judge that you fear for your safety from a spouse, former spouse, live-in partner, person you dated or other romantic relationship. To get a restraining order you’ll have to tell you story to the judge and provide evidence of stalking, harassment, physical abuse or another domestic violence act.
Does a restraining order go on your record in New Jersey?
A restraining order does not go on your record in New Jersey. Restraining orders are civil actions, not criminal. However, if you violate a restraining order and are arrested, that may go on your criminal record. Additionally, information about offenders with final restraining orders issued against them is sent to the state’s domestic violence central registry.
Who can get a restraining order?
People 18 years of age or older and emancipated minors who are victims of domestic violence committed by a spouse, former spouse or someone they live with can get a restraining order. Victims of any age who are in a dating relationship with someone who commits domestic violence against them can get a restraining order. Victims of any age who are pregnant or have a child with the alleged abuser can get a restraining order.
What happens after I get a final restraining order?
Once you have a restraining order, carry your copy of it with you at all times. Should the person the order is against approach you, call the police. Show them the restraining order. Authorities are required to arrest people who violate orders protecting victims from threats of further violence.
What happens if a restraining order is violated?
The person violating the restraining order can be arrested and criminal charges filed against them if they violated provisions about making contact. This can even be the case if both parties are in voluntary contact with each other. Until an order is dismissed through the court, the provisions of a restraining order cannot be violated. Violations related to financial or parenting issues are enforced through the family court.
I reconciled with my spouse/partner. What happens to the restraining order?
The restraining order remains in effect even if you have reconciled with your spouse or other person in a romantic relationship, unless you have gone to court to have it removed. The person the order was against can be arrested if the order was not dismissed by the Family Court. Do not take the chance of that happening. Speak to our family lawyers in New Jersey if you are unsure how to proceed.
Get Help from a Restraining Order Lawyer in New Jersey
If you are being stalked, harassed or fear you are in danger from a spouse, former spouse or other current or former romantic relationship, our experienced domestic violence lawyers are here to help you . We can advise you about the restraining order process and help you in obtaining one. If you are an individual who wishes to defend against a restraining order or potentially have one against you removed, we can assist you as well.
You can arrange a case evaluation with an attorney from Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC by calling (201) 880-9770. Reach out today for help.