UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS.
Your safety and the safety of your children should always be your number one priority. Getting out of an abusive relationship is not easy. Domestic violence can take many forms. There are different acts of abuse that are considered domestic violence; simple assault, aggravated assault, harassment, criminal restraint, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, stalking, sexual assault, and verbal/emotional abuse. If you or your children have been victims of abuse or feel as though you are unsafe because of threats of violence, you may obtain a temporary restraining order. At the Law Offices of Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., our experienced lawyers can help you through this difficult and dangerous time. However, if you feel as though you are in immediate danger, it is important for you to call the police as soon as possible.
In New Jersey, survivors of domestic violence are protected by the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (NJPDVA), this Act offers victims several forms of legal protection including temporary and permanent restraining orders.
Filing Paperwork for a Restraining Order
Pursuant to the NJPDVA, domestic abuse can be committed against a current or a former spouse, someone you used to date or are currently dating, the parent of your child, or a member of your household (past or present). From the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. you can file for a temporary restraining order in the Superior Court in the County in which you live in. Outside of these allotted hours, you can file through your police department as a Judge will be on-call no matter the time to determine whether to grant your request. Please note that this process may differ during the Pandemic and between counties. Therefore, you should consult with an attorney to find out the steps you need to take to file a temporary restraining order.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can apply for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the other party to protect yourself, your children, and to safeguard your property. A TRO will provide immediate protection and can be granted with little evidence of any abuse or violence. The TRO usually lasts until both parties can appear in Court to prove their cases at a Final Restraining Order hearing. It is at this time that a judge will determine whether an act of domestic violence occurred and whether a Final Restraining Order (FRO) should be entered. If so, the Court may offer a number of solutions, including restraining the abuser from access to the victim and any shared property, including a home or car; granting sole custody of children to one party; and ordering the abuser to pay emergency relief, continue rent or mortgage payments, or to attend anger management therapy and/or professional counseling.
Final retraining orders (FRO) take an in-depth and extremely critical look at the case before reaching a final verdict. This is due to the fact that in New Jersey, once a final restraining order has been issued by the Courts, it will last indefinitely. If you are successful in obtaining a Final Restraining Order, a Judge can order your abuser to pay for your counsel fees.
Defending the Accused
If you have been accused of committing an act of domestic violence you should consult with an attorney immediately to protect yourself and learn about your legal rights. Without experienced representation, your life may be affected long term as a final restraining order appears on background checks.
Too often, a determination by a Judge will be based on which side sounds more credible. A New Jersey Divorce attorney is the right person to help you with issues of domestic violence, especially where they overlap in your divorce action. Having an attorney who is familiar with the facts of your case from the divorce action can be invaluable in representing you in your domestic violence action.
Whether you are a survivor of domestic violence or need to defend against a restraining order, the Law Offices of Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., LLC, offers experienced and caring legal advice in helping survivors secure the safety of their families.