If You and the Other Person in a Restraining Order Case are in the Same Place, What Happens?
In the US, somewhere between 2 and 3 million restraining orders are filed each year. A restraining order is a court order of protection designed to prevent or stop a person from being stalked, physically or sexually abused, harassed, or to avoid contact between specific parties involved in domestic violence. In New Jersey, three distinct forms of a restraining order can be issued. The first is a temporary restraining order (TRO), which acts just as it sounds: temporarily. The next phase of this type of order is a final restraining order (FRO), also relatively self-explanatory. The third type of restraining orders is reserved for victim of sex crimes; this order is otherwise known as a sexual assault protective order. Each type of restraining order has different requirements, which apply in different situations or at varying points. The text below will answer some of the most common questions regarding the function and application of New Jersey restraining orders once they have been placed into effect.
What Happens with a Restraining Order in a Public Place?
In the garden state, restraining orders work by barring defendants from going to the places the plaintiff frequents most. Some examples of these locations are their job, residence, and educational institution, and sometimes the terms can include places such as fitness clubs. Individuals must maintain a specific distance from these locations, institutions, and properties. However, the rules outlined in a restraining order can be confusing regarding their application to other public venues and spaces.
Publicly, it may be challenging to enforce a restraining order, but they do not lose their authority. When both parties live in the same area or region, they may be in the same place simultaneously. As a defendant encountering the plaintiff of the restraining order in a public setting or place not otherwise stipulated in terms of the order, it is advisable to err on the side of caution and remove yourself from the location. As a plaintiff, you could interpret such an event as stalking, or a form of harassment, even if the situation was entirely accidental. The result could be a report to the court for a violation of the order, and if you felt threatened, you may call the police.
As a defendant, it is wise not to attempt to communicate or explain to the victim why you are in the same place but instead just leave. Alternatively, as a plaintiff, you should never willfully attempt to use a coincidental meeting or deliberately orchestrate one to generate an arrest or violation. Such actions are not taken lightly by the court.
How Does a Restraining Order Affect a School Setting when Two Parties Attend the Same School?
If the parties involved in a protective restraining order attend the same educational institution, the school, college, or university must do their part to honor and obey the terms of the order and prioritize the student’s safety when on their grounds or attending any sponsored events. The institution should take any available steps to protect the party with the restraining order. Such actions may look like having the defendant use an altered course schedule, switch to remote learning when possible, and remain off campus when the plaintiff is attending their classes. The school should ensure parties are not in the same classrooms attending the same classes.
The student’s academic advisor or counselor may also be cautioned and can work to block off the plaintiff’s selected courses from the available course list the defendant views and chooses from to create their schedule. Providing security to escort the party with the restraining order to and from their courses is another protective measure that can ensure the plaintiff’s safety on campus. Depending on the severity of the case, the defendant may not be allowed to attend the institution.
How do Restraining Orders Work when Parents have Children with Shared Activities, Events, and School Schedules?
Restraining orders prohibit parties from contacting each other. If there are children involved, a restraining order can seem more problematic. However, the judge can include specific provisions regarding child custody and visitation in a final restraining order in New Jersey, and there is the possibility of requesting primary custody. In the FRO, primary custody may be granted when the defendant poses a threat or danger to the children involved. Should the defendant in the restraining order hold primary custody of the children, the judge can outline and facilitate rights for visitation.
In addition, a final order will include details regarding necessary communication, such as scheduling visits, alerting the other parents of an emergency, and other circumstances. If the defendant is not considered a danger to the children, a parenting timetable may need to be discussed and arranged with the judge. Devising an organized schedule with boundaries and parameters allows parents to safely experience activities with their children and attend events like soccer practices, school events, etc., without violating the temporary or final order.
What is the Functionality of a Restraining Order if the Plaintiff and Defendant Work Together?
A restraining order usually includes the plaintiff’s job as a place the defendant cannot enter and must keep away from by a particular distance. A plaintiff may be in a situation where they are married to, dating, or share children with a coworker but are granted the protection of a restraining order. At the earliest opportunity, the judge should be informed of such circumstances. Working for the same employer can present an uncomfortable and challenging situation. However, as with educational institutions, your workplace can also make meaningful efforts to ensure your protection as a restraining order plaintiff.
A critical first step is to alert your employer of the order, inform them the defendant works for the company too, and provide a physical copy of the restraining order. The court may order the defendant not to work at the same business or for the same company as the plaintiff. A judge may make such a determination based on many variables, including the severity of the offense behind the order.
Why are the Specific Terms of the Order Important for Contact and Distance?
The many elements that may be included in a temporary or final restraining order are essential for both defendants and victims because they set out the specific conditions the defendant must follow to avoid violation and, as a result, jail time or hefty fines. They also delineate the victim’s rights and protections, which can help them feel safe and secure. There are some common situations in which abiding by the terms of TROs and FROs is critical. For example, a temporary or final order can come equipped with a no-contact provision, which means there is to be no contact permitted between the defendant and the plaintiff, or it can specifically mention that contact must be confined to making arrangements for the children if the two parties have children in common. When followed, the victim remains safe from further harm, and the defendant avoids wrongdoing, violations, and potential criminal charges.
A temporary or final restraining order can also provide a stay-away provision, meaning that the defendant must keep a specific distance away from the victim. Such conditions can help to keep the victim safe from further harm. As shown in these examples, not only are the provisions set in TRO and FRO ways to increase safety, but if not carefully reviewed and followed, defendants can quickly run into violations as well as acquire unwanted and severe penalties.
Have Other Questions about How Restraining Orders Work in Certain Locations in New Jersey?
A seasoned restraining order attorney at our firm can help you, whether the defendant or the plaintiff in the legal matter. As a plaintiff, we can assist by ensuring you file the necessary paperwork with the court for a temporary restraining order and representing you at each hearing along the way. Plaintiffs can rely on our seasoned and compassionate domestic violence attorney for drafting, filing, and ensuring the service of the complaint for a temporary restraining order, appearing with you at the ex parte hearing on the temporary restraining order, and arguing in favor of granting a temporary restraining order. In addition, our lawyers will appear you at the final hearing on the permanent restraining order and argue on your behalf in favor of granting the permanent restraining order.
As a defendant, we can also be beneficial in many ways, including but not limited to the following filing a motion to dismiss or quash a restraining order’s services; assisting with objecting to evidence introduced by the plaintiff’s attorney at a hearing; cross-examining the plaintiff and witnesses called to testify; naming the most credible and reliable witnesses to testify on your behalf, and creating a rock-solid approach to challenging the restraining order against you. We have successfully accomplished this on countless occasions in every county in New Jersey, including in Union County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Bergen County, Hudson County, and Passaic County.
An exceptional domestic violence attorney is vital if you are facing a restraining order or need to file for a protective order, as these cases have high stakes and long-term implications. Contact us at 908-336-5008 for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced New Jersey domestic violence lawyer.