If you are involved in a domestic violence case and are dealing with a restraining order matter, you may be wondering why you had to leave the house where you currently live with the the other party. Beyond your immediate removal from the premises, you are then faced with several overwhelming questions, including: “When can I return home?” and “Do I have to move out permanently if a final restraining order is issued?”
Accused of Domestic Violence, Do I have to Leave my House?
The rules cornering shared residences when domestic violence is alleged are very simple and straight forward in New Jersey. The alleged victim and perpetrator cannot occupy the same home. Under the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, in-house restraining orders are prohibited. Consequently, if a household member obtains a temporary or final restraining order, the accused or the victim, must vacate the home.
Generally, the victim is permitted to remain in the home while the defendant is ordered to leave. However, it is worth noting, that the Act does not specifically state that the defendant is the person who has to exit the premises. The statute merely prohibits in-house orders of protection. Thus, if it is possible for the victim to go elsewhere, the defendant may be permitted to remain in the home. Regardless of the language and the statutory requirement, the alleged abuser is forced to exit the home in the vast majority of cases.
Will I be Forced to Move out if a Restraining Order is Issued in my Case?
If you are in the unfortunate position where you are commanded to leave your home after an alleged domestic violence incident, you are permitted to gather any personal belongings with the assistance of a police escort. It is important to note that this does not apply if you are arrested at the scene of domestic violence. If you are unable to grab anything upon being notified of the order or you need to gather additional items, you may ask the Court to return to your home to retrieve other personal items. What most commonly occurs is the Judge will set a specific date and amount of time the person can return to the home. On top of that, the individual will be responsible for securing assistance from the local police to escort him or her while they gather their belongings. While this is occurring, the victim will be obligated to leave the premises.
On the other side, if you are the alleged victim and allowed to remain in the home, the court is authorized to order other forms of relief in addition to the defendant vacating the premises. Relief such as child support, mortgage or rent payments, or exclusive use the family vehicle are common forms of relief granted by the court. Of course, this must be decided by the judge and any attempt by the other party to contact you about these these while the temporary restraining order is in place is considered a violation of a court order and can be punished severely.
Similar rules apply if a permanent restraining order is issued in your case. Specifically, the two parties are not allowed to live together under the same roof. Since a restraining order cannot be removed without another formal legal proceeding, this rule is in place permanently. The judge has the discretion during the final hearing to order the exact requirements in your case, meaning who must leave the home and whether or not any forms of relief should be issued.
Questions about your House in a New Jersey Domestic Violence Case?
Your home may be on the line in a domestic violence case, among other important things like your reputation, child custody situation, and personal relationships. Accordingly, if you or someone you know is seeking a restraining order or in need of assistance defending against accusations in New Jersey, please contact our office as soon as possible. Call 908-336-5008 to speak with an experienced NJ domestic violence attorney who can answer all of your questions and discuss your options.