Five Temporary Restraining Orders Dismissed in Four New Jersey Counties This Week
Restraining Order Lawyers handling matters in Morris, Bergen, Sussex, and Union Counties
The New Jersey restraining order lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC had quite a week. Our attorneys represented five clients who were facing temporary restraining orders (TRO) throughout northern New Jersey including in Bergen County, Morris County, Union County, and Sussex County. Each restraining order was filed under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and docketed in the Family Division in the county in which it was filed. Once the temporary restraining order (TRO) is filed, the final restraining order hearing is scheduled within 10 days. The final restraining order trial is conducted before a Superior Court judge in the Family Court and is a civil matter. However, even though it is a civil matter and not a criminal matter, a final restraining order being issued can have serious, long-lasting implications for a defendant including: fingerprints and placed into a NJ database for domestic violence offenders; prohibited from owning firearms; may effect the defendant’s professional licenses and immigration status if not a US citizen; traveling in and out of the country and being detained at airports to confirm that the plaintiff is not in the vicinity; the restraining order is permanent and never expires.
During a final restraining order trial, the Plaintiff has the burden of proof and goes first. The standard in a civil matter is by “a preponderance of the evidence” which essentially means “more likely than not”. The Plaintiff can testify, call witnesses, and admit evidence such as text messages, voicemails, emails, photographs, police reports, hospital records, etc. The Defendant has an opportunity to cross examine the plaintiff and any other witnesses that testify. Then, it is the Defendant’s turn to make their case by testifying and calling any witnesses and putting forth any evidence that may help the judge make a decision. Once both parties rest, the judge determines whether or not a permanent restraining order should issue. The judge must find that a predicate act of domestic violence occurred, that there is a prior history of domestic violence (unless the predicate act was extremely egregious), and that the restraining order is necessary to protect the safety and well being of the plaintiff because the plaintiff is reasonable to be in fear for their safety.
This week, five client’s retained the Tormey Law Firm who had temporary restraining orders filed against them. Here is how the cases were resolved:
Union County Restraining Order Dismissed
The first restraining order handled this week by the Tormey Law Firm was on Tuesday at the Union County Superior Court located in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This was our second appearance on the matter. The Plaintiff failed to appear at the first trial date but called the court and told them that she wanted to drop the restraining order. This was not sufficient for the judge. He required that she appear in court and place her dismissal on the record. She must also speak with a domestic violence counselor who explains the cycle of domestic violence to her and confirms that she is dropping the restraining order freely and voluntarily. This was done on Tuesday and the dismissal was placed on the record with the Judge.
Morris County Temporary Restraining Order Dismissed
On Wednesday, we appeared with a client who was scheduled for a final restraining order hearing at the Morris County Superior Court located in Morristown, NJ. Our client had previously appeared without an attorney and the plaintiff indicated that she wanted to proceed to trial and attempt to obtain the permanent restraining order. At that point, the client asked for a postponement to retain counsel and wisely hired the Tormey Law Firm to represent him. When we appeared in court for the final hearing, our restraining order lawyer spoke to the plaintiff and the domestic violence counselor and let them know we were ready to proceed to trial. We had already met with the client and prepared for his testimony and had already gathered all the text messages, emails, and other evidence we needed to show the judge that there was no domestic violence in this case. As a result, the plaintiff spoke to the domestic violence counselor and decided to dismiss the restraining order voluntarily rather than put herself through a trial. This was a great result for our client.
Two Bergen County Restraining Orders Dismissed in One Day
Also on Wednesday, we appeared in the Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack, NJ to resolve two temporary restraining order (TRO) cases. The first case resolved in the morning with a civil restraints agreement. This is a consent order between the parties where the defendant agrees not to contact the plaintiff or to only contact them in a certain way which is enumerated in the agreement (such as email or text if the parties have children in common and must communicate). It also can deal with any other collateral issues such as custody, property disputes, etc. The civil restraints agreement is placed on the record in court and the temporary restraining order (TRO) is dismissed. The civil restraints agreement is good for both parties because the defendant avoids a final restraining order, which includes fingerprints and never expires. It is also good for the plaintiff because then there is something on the record so that, if something happens in the future, they can point to the agreement and show the judge that the defendant clearly can’t stay away from them and that they need a final restraining order.
The second case looked like it was going to proceed to trial but our Bergen County restraining order lawyer was able to negotiate a civil restraints agreement to resolve that case as well. Both clients were extremely satisfied with the outcome and the services of the Tormey Law Firm.
Sussex County Restraining Order Dropped with Civil Restraints Agreement
Finally, on Thursday we appeared in the Sussex County Superior Court located in Newton NJ for a domestic violence restraining order case. Our client was a doctor, a young resident, who’s license and career could be jeopardized if a final restraining order was issued against him. Fortunately, we appeared and negotiated a settlement with the other party and her attorney. She voluntarily dismissed the restraining order and a civil restraints agreement was drafted and placed on the record. The parties agreed to have no further contact and to go their separate ways. This was a tremendous relief to our client and was necessary to protect his future.
Every restraining order case is unique to the parties involved; however, it takes knowledge and skill to resolve these cases in a favorable manner. Our attorneys have extensive experience with TRO’s, as well as final restraining order hearings, and we fight tirelessly to deliver our clients the best possible results. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a domestic violence restraining order case, contact the Tormey Law Firm now for a free initial consultation at (908)-336-5008.