What Does a Restraining Order Include in NJ?
Restraining Order Attorneys Serving Bergen County and across New Jersey
If you are a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey, a judge can sign an order of protection known as a restraining order, which requires the other party to follow all of its provisions. Temporary and permanent restraining orders contain rules, or forms of “relief,” that abusers must obey. The relief included in a restraining order can range from no contact, to child custody modifications. In fact, New Jersey law authorizes judges to order any type of relief that will help protect the victim, as long as the victim accepts it. If you want to obtain a restraining order against another person in New Jersey, an experienced domestic violence attorney can make sure you include all forms of relief that you need. At The Tormey Law Firm, our skilled NJ domestic abuse lawyers fight to get all of the terms you are seeking included in a final restraining order. Our practice spans the state, serving domestic violence victims in Hackensack, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Union City, West New York, North Bergen, and throughout New Jersey. If you are seeking a protective order in New Jersey, contact us today at (908)-336-5008 or send us a message online to arrange a free consultation.
Types of Relief in NJ Restraining Orders
There are two situations in which a judge will determine the types of relief to include in a restraining order. The first instance occurs when a judge issues a temporary restraining order. The second time a judge orders relief is after a final restraining order hearing. Some of the forms of relief that may be included in a restraining order in New Jersey are provided below.
A TRO or FRO in New Jersey can:
- Order the abuser not to have any contact with you, in person or by phone call, text message, email, or other means of communication, at home, school, work, or anywhere else where you conduct your regular activities;
- Order the abuser not to have any contact with any other “protected persons” named in the order, including family members, friends, or loved ones;
- Order the abuser to leave the house or apartment you previously shared, even if the residence is in the abuser’s name;
- Grant you primary custody of your children. This may also include supervised visitation or visitation after the abuser fullfills certain conditions (i.e. anger management, mental health counseling);
- Order the abuser to pay child support and/or support for you;
- Order the abuser to pay for costs that resulted from the abuse. This may include household expenses, medical treatment, dental care, moving expenses, loss of income, and/or your attorney’s fees;
- Order the abuser to submit to a mental health evaluation, undergo professional domestic violence counseling, attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Ananymous meetings, seek substance abuse treatment;
- Order the abuser to remove personal items from your shared residence with a police escort;
- Order the abuser to forfeit any weapons (including firearms) in his or her possession, including firearms purchaser identification card and permit to carry a handgun;
- Prohibit the abuser from possessing any firearms or weapons in the future; and
- Order any other type of relief relevant to the circumstances of your case deemed necessary for your protection.
Courts can order defendants to psychological evaluations and include provisions for treatment or therapy. A defendant must abide by the terms of the restraining order. In addition to addressing underlying issues that may have contributed to abusive behavior, such provisions can allow individuals to obtain the help they need.
Restraining Order in NJ: What Type of Help can I Ask for?
In terms of what else a person can for besides a no-contact order, it’s important to keep in mind that domestic violence is not limited to physical violence. On the contrary, our courts have defined domestic violence as pattern of abusive and controlling behavior injurious to its victims. See Peranio v. Peranio, 654 A.2d 495, 498, 280 N.J.Super. 47, 52 (App. Div. 1995). In fact, the most frequently reported offense is harassment. J.D. v. M.D.F., 25 A.3d 1045, 1055, 207 N.J. 458, 475 (N.J.,2011). As such, you did not need to be physically assaulted to obtain a restraining order. Any act or pattern of conduct that is considered controlling, such as, stalking, destruction of property, abusive messages, or controlling the finances, may fit into the definition of domestic violence. Consequently, the Act affords many forms of relief to protect all survivors and help break the cycle of control and abuse. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-28 and N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29, the court may forbid the defendant from returning to the scene of domestic violence and prohibit the defendant from entering the plaintiff’s home or place of work.
If the parties have children, the court may suspend parenting time, order supervised visits, or set a parenting time schedule that best protects the plaintiff and serves the child or children’s best interest. In addition, a judge can further compel the defendant to pay the plaintiff support in the form of spousal support, child support, and mortgage payments, as well as maintaining any health and car insurance.
In TRO’s and FRO’s, the defendant may be required to provide financial support to the victim. Financial resources for victims can mean enhanced security and safety. Financial terms may include orders to pay the plaintiff for essentials like rent, child support, insurance, mortgage payments, and alimony. Judges grant different types of relief depending on whether the order is temporary or final and based on circumstances unique to each case. For example, a defendant could also be ordered to pay lost wages, restitution for any damaged property, punitive damages for pain and suffering, moving costs, and incurred attorneys’ fees.
The Court can also seize any weapons, firearms, and permits. Further, a judge can require the defendant to undergo counseling. The Act also authorizes a judge to enter an order regarding pets to ensure any animals are not wrongfully kept by the defendant. In sum, the protection and relief provisions outlined in the statute allow the court to swiftly intervene and end any form of oppression the defendant may be exercising over the plaintiff.
What if a Person Fails to Obey a Restraining Order in NJ?
Under New Jersey law, violating any of the terms of a temporary restraining order or final restraining order constitutes a criminal offense known as contempt. When a judge grants relief in your restraining order case, the person MUST obey these rules by law or risk prosecution. Disobeying a restraining order in New Jersey is a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9 (b). A person’s first contempt conviction for violating a protective order is punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. A second contempt conviction for violating a restraining order requires a minimum sentence of 30 days in the county jail. Additionally, if a person commits another crime such as stalking, harassment, or assault while violating a restraining order, this is a fourth degree crime punishable by up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.
Need Help Getting a Restraining Order in New Jersey? Contact Jersey City NJ Domestic Violence Lawyers
For more information about domestic violence restraining orders and related family issues in New Jersey, please contact The Tormey Law Firm for a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey domestic violence lawyer. Call us today at (908)-336-5008. Consultations are entirely free and confidential.