Bergen County Restraining Order Lawyers
Domestic Violence Attorneys with Main Offices in Hackensack, New Jersey
Do you need a lawyer for a domestic violence restraining order case in Bergen County? We can help. The Tormey Law Firm has their main office located in Bergen County in Hackensack, New Jersey. Our firm literally handles hundreds of domestic violence restraining orders in the Bergen County Superior Court every year.
If you have been served with a temporary restraining order in Bergen County, the experienced domestic violence attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm can help defend you against the allegations of domestic violence and fight a final restraining order. On the other hand, if you are a victim of abuse and you are seeking to be protected by a restraining order, the restraining order attorneys at the Tormey Law firm are prepared to help protect you. Regardless of whether you are the victim of domestic violence or you are alleged to have perpetrated a predicate act of domestic violence, your case will be heard in the County Superior Court that has jurisdiction over the case, that is either in the county in which the parties reside or the county in which the alleged acts of domestic violence occurred. The restraining order attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm are here to help you with your domestic violence case in Bergen County.
With offices in Hackensack, NJ, our lawyers represent clients with restraining order matters arising out of East Rutherford, Garfield, Teaneck, Lodi, Fort Lee, Englewood, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Lyndhurst, Paramus, and throughout Bergen County. Contact our offices now for immediate assistance at (908)-336-5008. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.
Here is a review from one of our many satisfied domestic violence, restraining order clients:
“From the moment I entered Mr. Tormey’s office, I experienced an air of calm and confidence. His demeanor exuded his command of his profession as well as a knowledge of the human element in dealing with the intricacies of the law. After our initial meeting, I was satisfied that he had reviewed my case, that I knew what was expected from me, including fees, and a sense that the outcome would be positive. He maintained contact with me, kept me informed, and returned all phone calls in a timely manner. I am totally satisfied with his representation and have no reservations in recommending Mr. Tormey and his firm.” – Former Client
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Domestic Violence Cases in Bergen County, New Jersey
It is important to understand what domestic violence is and what efforts New Jersey has taken to combat it. In 1991, the New Jersey State Legislature passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, which is codified in our criminal code under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17, et. al. In the Act, our lawmakers made it a point to emphasize the serious nature that domestic violence poses against our citizens. In fact, our lawmakers placed an introduction section into the law titled “Legislature Findings and Purpose,” wherein, they specifically wrote that “domestic violence is a serious crime against society.” It’s important to take note that they used the word “society.” They did not use the word women, persons, or individuals. They wanted to stress to the public, law enforcement, and our judicial system that such acts do not just impact individuals but effect everyone as a whole. As a result of these findings, the Prevention of Domestic Act offers survivors the maximum protection the law can offer, which is more than just personal protection in the form of restraining orders. It further authorizes judges to enter orders awarding temporary child and spousal support, as well as any other equitable relief that may protect the health, safety, and well-being of the plaintiff.
Cases of suspected abuse are extremely common in Bergen County, New Jersey, often arising when a victim chooses to file a restraining order in connection with an assault incident, sexual assault, continued harassment, or another act of domestic violence. In other cases, the person facing a restraining order has been falsely accused of terroristic threats, criminal mischief, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, or another crime with no basis. Still in other cases, the police arrive on the scene of a suspected domestic violence incident and following an investigation, file criminal charges against the alleged abuser. In these cases, the alleged victim has the option to file a restraining order as well.
Is a Criminal Charge different from a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?
Yes. A criminal charge is a completely separate case that has nothing to do with the temporary restraining order. Although they may have arisen out of the same incident, the criminal case will be prosecuted in a different court with different standards of proof. A defendant can win one case and lose the other, win both, or lose both – the outcome of one case has no bearing on the other case.
In what court will my temporary restraining order be held?
The family division of the Superior Court in Bergen County if that’s where the temporary restraining order was issued.
Temporary and Final Restraining Orders in Bergen County NJ
Restraining orders exist in two distinct types: temporary restraining orders (TRO) and final restraining orders (FRO). The temporary restraining orders are interim orders that remain in place until the final hearing, which typically occurs within 10 days. At the final hearing for a restraining order, the plaintiff and the defendant may both testify, call witnesses, cross-examine the other side’s witnesses, and present evidence, to support the need for a restraining order, or lack thereof. After hearing the case, the judge must determine whether an act of domestic violence occurred, whether there is a history of abuse between the parties, and whether the victim is reasonably in fear for their safety and in need of a protection order to ensure their safety moving forward.
When a restraining order matter begins in a domestic violence case, you may find yourself engulfed in an overwhelming legal process, the results of which can spell permanent implications for you and your loved ones. Whether you are the victim or the accused in a domestic violence case in Bergen County, a temporary or final restraining order, criminal charges, a child custody dispute, and more unexpected consequences can pose a looming burden. It is important to know that you have rights, one of which is the right to retain knowledgeable legal counsel. An experienced domestic violence and restraining order lawyer can help guide you through every aspect of these legal proceedings and vigorously pursue the justice you deserve.
BERGEN COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
Domestic violence cases and hearings for restraining orders in Bergen County will be heard at the Bergen County Superior Court. The Bergen County Superior Court is located at 10 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be contacted at 201-527-2700. Click here for more information regarding the Bergen County Superior Court.
BERGEN COUNTY FAMILY COURT – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
Restraining order cases in Bergen County Superior Court will be handled by a Judge who sits in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Bergen County Superior Court. The Presiding Judge of the Bergen County Family Part is the Honorable Peter J. Melchionne P.J.F.P., whose chambers can be contacted at 201-527-2510. The Family Part also has a Domestic Violence Unit with court staff dedicated to domestic violence and restraining order cases. The Domestic Violence Manager is Tracey Andolini, who can be contacted at 201-527-2337. Click here for more information on the Bergen County Family Court Domestic Violence Unit.
BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office is also available for assistance with domestic violence cases and may prosecute criminal charges against those accused of perpetrating crimes related to domestic violence or criminal contempt charges against anyone accused of violating the terms of a temporary or final restraining order. The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office is located at 10 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 and can be contacted at (201) 646-2300. For more information on the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Domestic Violence Unit, click here.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES AND SERVICES IN BERGEN COUNTY
If you’re the victim of domestic violence in Bergen County, don’t hesitate to call the confidential National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-572-SAFE (7233), which are available on a 24/7 basis for domestic violence victims and others seeking crisis intervention and/or referrals to local services. And click here for the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence to learn about what services and resources are available in Bergen County.
There are a number of local domestic violence services available in Bergen County. The Center for Hope and Safety, formerly known as Shelter Our Sisters, is located at 405 State Street, Hackensack, NJ, 07601 and can be contacted at 201-498-9247. The Center for Hope and Safety provides a Battered Women’s Shelter in Bergen County and also provides transitional housing in Bergen County. For domestic violence shelter information in Bergen County, call the Center for Hope and Safety shelter program at 201-836-1075. The Center for Hope and Safety also has a 24/7 domestic violence hotline: 201-944-9600. For more information on the Center for Hope and Safety, click here.
Services are not only available for the victims of domestic violence, but also those that have perpetrated domestic violence, also known as batterers’ intervention. Batterers’ intervention services in Bergen County are provided by the Bergen County Alternatives to Domestic Violence program, which can be contacted at 201-336-7575. For more information on the Bergen County Alternatives to Domestic Violence Program, click here. Additional domestic violence services including anger management, counseling and family services may be found through the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Click here for a list of available domestic violence services in Bergen County.
In addition to the locally available domestic violence services in Bergen County, there are also statewide and national services available for the victims of domestic violence. In New Jersey, the Department of Children and Families’ Division on Women, Office of Domestic Violence Services funds twenty-three domestic violence programs and the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women. Click on the following links to learn more about New Jersey’s Office of Domestic Violence Services, the Coalition for Battered Women, or the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
LEGAL SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN BERGEN COUNTY
Victims of domestic violence in Bergen County may be able to obtain assistance with legal issues related to restraining orders by contacting local legal services. The Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, Hackensack Office, is located at 190 Moore Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601, and can be contacted at (201) 487-2166. For more information on the Hackensack office of Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, click here.
How Common is Domestic Violence in Bergen County NJ?
Bergen County sees a shocking number of arrests for domestic violence, restraining orders, and criminal charges based on domestic abuse allegations every year. In fact, the New Jersey State Police tracks domestic violence arrests and offenses on an annual basis, reporting nearly 3,400 cases in a given year in Bergen County according to their latest information. Some of the most common domestic violence offenses in this county include assault, criminal mischief, terroristic threats, and harassment. Many of these actions result in permanent restraining orders and criminal charges against those accused of perpetrating acts of domestic violence. New Jersey lawmakers have recognized the high incidence of abuse among spouses, domestic partners, family members, individuals with a child in common, and current or former dating couples. As a result, the state seeks to aggressively prosecute defendants in domestic violence cases and to provide necessary protection to victims through the issuance of temporary and final restraining orders.
How to File a Restraining Order in Bergen County
If you are the victim of domestic violence in Bergen County, you can request a temporary restraining order at the Bergen County Superior Court Domestic Violence Intake Office located in Room 102, 10 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601, phone: 201-527-2350. The Domestic Violence Intake Office takes complaints related to restraining orders from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Anytime before 8:30 a.m., after 3:30 p.m., on weekends, or holidays a complaint for a temporary restraining order can be filed at the local police department where the victim of domestic violence resides, where the perpetrator resides, or where the domestic violence occurred. Click here for the contact information for local police departments in Bergen County. You can also learn how to fill out restraining order forms in New Jersey if you are seeking a restraining order but unsure as to what information you should include in the initial documentation.
How Long Does a Restraining Order Last in Bergen County NJ?
A restraining order case proceeds in two phases. The judge who reviews the initial complaint for a domestic violence restraining order may determine the need for a temporary restraining order, at which point the person subject to the order must be served and a court date must be set for a final hearing. The temporary restraining order remains in effect until the final hearing, after which the temporary order may be dismissed or the judge decides to issue a permanent order of protection. A final order in a restraining order is just that, final. In other words, the person subject to the permanent protection order will be prohibited from contacting the victim and any other protected persons named in the order thereafter. Unless and until the person who obtained the order chooses to dismiss the restraining order, or the person subject to the order submits a motion to vacate the restraining order, the permanent order will remain in force. Whenever a person in a domestic violence case wants to remove a restraining order, this requires a separate legal process and corresponding order from the court. Even if the parties wish to reconcile at some point in the future, they must undergo the court process to have the restraining order removed.
While the restraining order itself remains effective, so too do any orders from the court issued at the time. The judge in a restraining order case may order a variety of forms of relief, including changes in child custody, child support, spousal support, and mandatory mental health or domestic violence counseling. The defendant in a domestic violence case may also be permanently barred from returning to the home they shared with the plaintiff, and prohibited from possessing or owning firearms and other weapons from the remainder of their life.
What happens after a final restraining order is issued?
After a Judge finds that there is enough evidence for a final (permanent) restraining order a few things happen. A final restraining order is signed by the Judge which prohibits any contact between the defendant and the plaintiff. This includes any electronic means of communication or through a third party. The defendant is also barred from the plaintiff’s home, workplace, and any other places listed on the restraining order (such as plaintiff’s church, etc.). The defendant may also be prohibited from contacting others listed on the restraining order such as the plaintiff’s family or friends. The defendant will be fingerprinted and placed into a statewide database for domestic violence offenders. They are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. They will be stopped at the airport when traveling in and out of the country to confirm they are not traveling with the plaintiff.
Can a restraining order be reversed?
Yes, there are 3 main ways a restraining order can be reversed. First, if you appeal the issuance of the final restraining order and win. This appeal is filed and heard at the Appellate Division in Trenton, NJ. Second, if the Plaintiff voluntarily dismisses the restraining order at some point down the road. Third, if you file a motion after some time passes saying that the restraining order is no longer necessary, there has been a significant change in circumstances such that the restraining order should be lifted.
How do I appeal the issuance of a Final Restraining Order (FRO) in Bergen County?
You can file an appeal to the Appellate Division in Trenton. The appeal must be filed within 45 days of the issuance of the final restraining order (FRO). You must file a notice of appeal with the grounds or legal basis as to why you are appealing. You must pay the filing fee $250 and you must order the transcript of your trial so that the Appellate judges can review what happened at your hearing and make a ruling on the legitimacy of your appeal. The appeal can be decided on the papers, which means just based on the legal briefs that are filed, or there can be oral argument held in Trenton where you can argue your case to the Appellate panel. It is important to have a lawyer experienced in restraining order appeals assist you throughout this complex process.
How do I remove a final restraining order (FRO) in Bergen County that was issued against me in the past? A Motion to Remove a Restraining Order in Bergen County Court
There are 2 main ways to remove an old restraining order that was issued against you in Bergen County in the past. One is for the victim to voluntarily dismiss the order. They must contact the court and sign off on some paperwork and the restraining order can be removed and dismissed. The second way is to file a motion to remove a restraining order in Bergen County. You must file the motion to remove the restraining order in the county in which the original order was issued. You must order a transcript of the original proceeding, if it exists. If no transcript exists, you must get a letter from the court stating that and attach it to your motion papers. This is known as a Carfagno motion based on the case of Carfagno v. Carfagno. A defendant must show that there has been a significant change in circumstances such that the restraining order is no longer necessary and should be removed and dismissed. A copy of this motion must be served on the plaintiff and then the case will be scheduled for a hearing in the Bergen County Superior Court.
We can assist you in filing a motion to remove an old restraining order in Bergen County and represent you at this hearing in court.
Frequently Asked Questions on Bergen County NJ Restraining Order Matters
FAQ: Can I file a restraining order against my neighbor or against my ex’s new partner? Unfortunately, no. In order to file a temporary restraining order in New Jersey, you must have standing to do so under the Domestic Violence Act. In order to have standing, you must have dated the defendant, have a child with them, or lived with them. However, you can always file criminal charges for harassment even if a restraining order is not possible.
FAQ: Where can I file a restraining order in Bergen County? At your local police department or in the family division of the Superior Court in Bergen County located in Hackensack NJ.
FAQ: Are there any public defenders for restraining order cases? No. This is a civil case, not a criminal case. So there is no right to a free attorney. If the parties can not afford to retain a lawyer, they can always represent themselves in court.
Hackensack Restraining Order Lawyers Can Help
Dealing with a domestic violence issue can be intimidating and overwhelming, and you may be wondering where to turn or how best to move forward. At The Tormey Law Firm, our Bergen County domestic violence lawyers understand the life-altering implications of a restraining order case and we are here to help. Whether you have been accused of abuse or you need assistance securing a permanent restraining order, contact our offices in Hackensack anytime at (908)-336-5008 for a free consultation. We will be happy to listen to your specific situation and answer all of your questions.