Can I See my Kids with a Restraining Order Against Me in NJ?
It is without question that domestic violence is a very serious matter. To that end, our Legislature specifically wrote in the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Act that “domestic violence is a serious crime against society; that there are thousands of persons in this State who are regularly beaten, tortured and in some cases even killed by their spouses or cohabitants; that a significant number of women who are assaulted are pregnant; and that victims of domestic violence come from all social and economic backgrounds and ethnic groups.”
The law further provides that “there is a positive correlation between spousal abuse and child abuse; and that children, even when they are not themselves physically assaulted, suffer deep and lasting emotional effects from exposure to domestic violence.”
Consequently, when any person is accused of committing an act of domestic violence in New Jersey, the Court has very wide discretion and power to place appropriate restraints on the accused to afford the utmost protection to the alleged victim and potentially exposed children.
Child Visitation, Custody & Restraining Orders in NJ
To start, the Domestic Violence Act prohibits “in-house restraining orders,” meaning a Judge cannot allow the alleged victim and the accused the ability the occupy the same premises. Thus, if a temporary restraining order (TRO) is granted, the defendant must leave the home. This is also true for final restraining orders, regardless of who purchased the house or whose name the residence is currently in.
The DV Act further permits the Judge to issue orders effecting custody and parenting time. More specifically, a Judge may transfer custody from the alleged perpetrator to the alleged victim. The Judge may also direct that parenting time be suspended or supervised. Additionally, the Court has the power to specify a specific place where parenting time may occur and can also limit the frequency. Furthermore, the Court can also order that a parent undergo an evaluation to assess the risk of potential harm to the child. On top of that, the Judge may direct that the alleged perpetuator undergo counseling.
If a final restraining order is entered and custody has been transferred or parenting time has been changed, it’s important to remember that all family court orders are subject to change. A parent is also free to petition the Court and request that an order be changed. In order for a modification to be made, the requesting party must demonstrate that the circumstances have changed since the restraining order was entered. Attempting to change a child custody order after a restraining order is extremely complex and best handled by an experienced attorney.
Accused of Domestic Violence, Need to See my Kids in New Jersey
To answer the question about whether a person can see their children if a restraining order is filed in New Jersey, the answer is yes, but, there may be some restrictions. The most important thing to do if you’re being prevented from seeing your children in connection with a restraining order is to seek legal help right away. The attorneys at our firm have extensive experience fighting for child custody and visitation for clients dealing with restraining orders in New Jersey and we can help you. Call our office today at (908)-336-5008 or fill out our online form to arrange a free consultation about your restraining order child custody case.