Domestic violence is a serious problem in New Jersey. DV litigation is so prevalent, in fact, that in some counties you can tell it’s a “Domestic Violence Court Day” simply by the longer line when entering the courthouse.

The purpose of this post is to provide some basic information about the two types of domestic violence restraining orders in New Jersey:

  • Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO’s)
  • Final Restraining Orders (FRO’s)

Temporary Restraining Orders in New Jersey 

You can probably guess from its modifier, that a temporary restraining order won’t last forever.  That said, if you are serious about pursuing a final restraining order, then you must first obtain a temporary restraining order.

Under relevant New Jersey law, there are three major factors considered in the issuance of a temporary restraining order.  These are:

1) Does the Plaintiff qualify as a victim?

2) Did the Defendant, in fact, commit an act of Domestic Violence?  And:

3) Is there a history of domestic violence?

If, for example, the victim indicates a long history of domestic violence issues with the alleged Defendant, then a temporary restraining order may be issued in a case that might not normally be considered sufficient for the entry of a temporary restraining order.

I already wrote that a temporary restraining order is a necessary step in ultimately pursuing a final restraining order, but you may be wondering what other types of relief could be granted through a temporary restraining order?

Such relief could include:

  • Barring the Defendant from the parties’ home, the victim’s office, or other places.
  • Barring the Defendant from subjecting the victim to further domestic violence.
  • Barring the Defendant from contacting or being in the presence of the victim.
  • Barring the Defendant from possessing any weapons, including firearms.
  • Providing the victim with temporary custody of the children (parenting time may, however, be granted to the alleged abuser).
  • Providing the victim with the temporary exclusive possession of the house*
How to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order in NJ
A domestic violence victim will generally first meet with the police.  Thereafter, he or she will likely fill out paperwork for the Superior Court or a municipal court judge.
It’s important to note that someone should always be on call to hear a domestic violence tro hearing.  24/7.
It should be further noted that an alleged domestic violence abuser can appeal a TRO, although it is more common for alleged abusers to save their defense for the final restraining order hearing.
Final Restraining Orders 
Under relevant New Jersey law, there are generally three major factors considered in the issuance of a final restraining order. These are:
1) Does the Plaintiff qualify as a Victim under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act?
2) Did the Defendant commit an Act of Domestic Violence?
3) Is there a history of domestic violence or did the domestic violence involve an egregious act?
In future blog posts, I will elaborate further upon the above definitions, and also review the 14 Domestic Violence Offenses in New Jersey, which include assault, stalking, and harassment.
How to Obtain a Final Restraining Order 
After a temporary restraining order is granted, a final restraining order will soon thereafter be scheduled.  The final restraining order will generally be scheduled and heard quickly; and if neither side is granted an adjournment, will likely be scheduled and heard within ten (10) days.
For this reason, if a domestic violence Plaintiff or Defendant wishes to be represented by an attorney, they should move quickly to retain a qualified attorney’s services.
Some of the relief possibly offered by the entry of a Final Restraining Order includes:
  • Financial/Economic Relief (damages, support)
  • Permanently barring the Defendant from contacting the Plaintiff.
  • Permanently barring the Defendant from committing future acts of Domestic Violence.
  • Permanently barring the Defendant from certain locations, including but not limited to the former residence of the relationship and the Plaintiff’s place of work.
  • Barring the Defendant from carrying/possessing weapons.
  • Ordering counseling–including but not limited to drug/alcohol counseling and/or abuse counseling.
  • Any other relief that is reasonably necessary and/or appropriate to mitigate the risk of further abuse.
In New Jersey, a Final Restraining Order is permanent, and will remain in effect until it is dismissed by a judge.

The standard of review (what one must prove to be successful in a restraining order request) is the same for temporary and final restraining orders:  Preponderance of the Evidence.

Your New Jersey Divorce Lawyer:

If you’re considering a New Jersey divorce or Family Law action contact me to discuss your options.  You can schedule an initial consultation by calling my office at 908-237-3096 or by scheduling your own divorce consultation online by clicking here.