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A New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Family

Domestic violence is a serious matter that requires experienced legal counsel. Whether you are the victim of domestic violence or have been accused of committing domestic violence, it is imperative to understand your rights and options. Our attorneys have decades of experience in successfully prosecuting and defending against acts of domestic violence.

What is Considered Domestic Violence in New Jersey?

Domestic violence is abusive behavior which is part of a pattern of power and control by one partner against the other.

Some common forms of domestic violence include:

  • Assault (causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, etc.)
  • Battery (hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, shaking, burning, or scratching)
  • Sexual contact (rape, sodomy, etc.)
  • Stalking
  • Terroristic threats
  • Harassment
  • Withholding essentials (such as money, food, medicine, etc.)
  • False imprisonment (Restraining someone against their will)
  • Demonstrating physical dominance (hitting/kicking walls or doors, or throwing things)

Protect Yourself with a Protective Order

If you are a domestic violence victim, you may petition a court for a restraining order or personal protective order (PPO). The purpose of this PPO is to protect you from unwanted acts by the abuser, such as:

  • Entering the premises of your home, workplace, or school
  • Prohibits contact by email, phone, notes, or mail
  • Engaging in assault or attack
  • Threatening to kill or injure the victim
  • Removing any minor children

Temporary Restraining Order vs. Final Restraining Orders

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is an interim court order issued by a judge that prohibits the accused offender from perpetrating the offenses alleged by the victim until a final determination can be made whether such an order should be made final.

TROs exist to provide immediate protection to the alleged victim. The state has competing interests in protecting alleged victims from further acts of domestic violence and protecting the freedom of falsely accused individuals of such acts. As such, TROs require a low burden of proof to obtain (usually just testimony or a statement by the victim that acts of domestic violence occurred), but hearing dates are set soon after that (typically within two weeks).

A hearing is required for the TRO to be converted into a Final Restraining order (FRO), which provides the victim long-lasting legal protection, and the violation of which is a criminal act.

For these reasons, a FRO requires a much higher standard than a TRO, and a hearing is required. The victim must prove that:

  1. An act or acts of domestic violence occurred, and;
  2. A Final Restraining Order is necessary to prevent further acts of domestic violence.

An experienced New Jersey domestic violence lawyer can help you determine the best process and steps to protect you and your family.

What are Civil Restraints in New Jersey?

Civil restraints are an option to solve pending domestic violence cases without going to trial or entering a formal restraining order (FRO), which is permanent.

Generally, civil restraints prohibit one or both parties from committing any acts of domestic violence against each other. They can also address other issues such as:

  • Interim support
  • Parenting time
  • Use of a shared residence

Civil restraints are different from a FRO in a few important ways:

  • It is entered into willingly by both parties
  • It is easier to amend by either consent or court order than a FRO
  • Violation of Civil Restraints is a civil offense, not a criminal one
  • It is entered into in family court instead of the domestic violence unit

Civil restraints can be a good option for parties who do not want to risk a hearing outcome. Every situation is different, and a New Jersey domestic violence lawyer has the experience and knowledge to advise you if they are right for you.

Contact a New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer to Protect You Today

If you were a victim of domestic violence, we are here to help, and you have options. It is important to seek help immediately before the situation escalates and you become in further danger. Contact a New Jersey domestic violence lawyer at Zemsky Family Law today.