Temporary Restraining Orders in New Jersey
A Temporary Order of Protection with Hearing Held Within 10 Days
If you have been served with or filed a TRO, you need immediate assistance navigating the legal process. Although a civil matter in New Jersey and not criminal, if a final restraining order is issued in NJ it is permanent and never expires. A defendant must be fingerprinted and placed in a state-wide database for domestic violence offenders. Thus, if you are facing a temporary restraining order that could become final, you must protect yourself and hire an experienced lawyer to fight your case in court.
The restraining order attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm LLC can help. Our lawyers have successfully litigated hundreds of restraining order cases in every county in NJ. In fact, our managing partner, Travis J. Tormey, has been cited as a legal resource on domestic violence by CBS radio, the Star Ledger, and the Daily Record. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with a restraining order, contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation at (908)-336-5008. We represent clients throughout NJ including in Essex County, Bergen County, Passaic County, and Morris County.
Here is a five star review from one of our many satisfied restraining order clients:
“Great law firm. I emailed them on a Saturday night and Travis got back to me Sunday morning. He explained everything and put my mind at ease. One of his Associates Tom Ercolano was my lawyer. He did a great job and got a settlement with the other party” – Rose
Top 5 Things to Know about Temporary Restraining Orders in New Jersey
- You need to be eligible to file for one
- There needs to be an act of domestic violence
- The Family Court has jurisdiction
- The case is expedited and moves quickly through the court system
- The TRO will be made permanent or dismissed after the hearing
Can I file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?
The first question we typically hear is: Can I obtain a temporary restraining order? Here is some basic information about filing a restraining order in NJ.
To be a protected party in NJ, you must be covered by the Domestic Violence Act. This covers the following individuals:
- The parties were in a dating relationship, married, divorced, etc.
- The parties have children in common.
- The parties resided together at some point.
If any of these apply to you, then you are subject to the Domestic Violence Act and you have standing to apply for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). In order to do so, you must be able to prove than an act of domestic violence occurred: i.e. harassment, stalking, assault, terroristic threats, etc. If a Superior Court Judge (or Municipal Court Judge after court hours) finds enough proof that a predicate act of domestic violence occurred, then a TRO will be issued. The TRO can be issued in either the county in which the parties reside or the county in which the incident took place.
Is a Temporary Restraining Order easy to get?
Yes, a temporary restraining order is easy to get. An alleged victim merely testifies about the alleged acts of domestic violence and there is no defendant or defense attorney there to challenge their story or cross examine them. As a result, TRO’s are usually granted fairly routinely. Therefore, a TRO can happen to anyone including professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, and your next door neighbor. If a husband and wife are going through a divorce, many times a restraining order is filed in retaliation or for leverage in a collateral proceeding like the divorce. However, final restraining orders are much more difficult to obtain, especially if you hire the right attorney to represent you in court and fight potentially false allegations.
Where can I get a temporary restraining order? At the Superior Court or Police Department
Victims of domestic violence in New Jersey can obtain a temporary restraining order in one of two ways: either at the County Superior Court or at the local police department, depending on where and when the restraining order is sought. If the restraining order is sought after courts are closed (4 pm), then the police will contact a Municipal Court Judge after hours to conduct a hearing on the issuance of the TRO. That is, the temporary restraining order must be filed in the appropriate county of venue based upon where one of the parties resides or the location at which the act of domestic violence took place.
The TRO, if issued, will prevent any contact between the defendant and the plaintiff. It will also list protected parties such as children, relatives, etc. and protected places such as homes, schools, relatives’ homes, etc. Finally, it will address any custody/visitation issues if the parties have minor children together. In addition, a Judge can even order temporary financial support so that bills are paid during the pendency of the case. This custody/visitation will remain in effect until the Final Restraining Order (FRO) hearing.
What if I am not a protected party under the Domestic Violence Act?
You can not obtain a restraining order. However, you can file criminal charges for any acts of domestic violence and obtain a “no contact order” through the criminal court system.
What Court will my Restraining Order be handled in?
A domestic violence restraining order is a family matter in New Jersey and, as such, will be handled in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the County in which your restraining order was filed.
A Restraining Order has been filed against me. Now what do I do?
Get a lawyer. The collateral consequences of a Final Restraining Order (FRO) being issued against you can be severe. Also, here are some other pages on our site that can provide valuable information regarding your restraining order process:
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in Restraining Order cases
- Final Restraining Order Hearings: Explaining the process
- New Jersey Domestic Violence Resources
- Roadmap for restraining orders
- Service of Temporary Restraining Orders
The Temporary restraining order will remain in effect until the case is dismissed or a final restraining order (FRO) is issued. Typically, the final restraining order hearing is scheduled within 10 days of the issuance of the temporary restraining order. If you have been served with a TRO, there is a date for the final restraining order hearing usually on the last page of your restraining order that you were served with. There are no public defenders in these cases because they are civil in nature. So, you can hire an attorney to represent you or represent yourself in court. If you need more time, most judges will allow either party one postponement (adjournment) to obtain an attorney or to prepare their evidence for trial.
Frequently Asked Questions About Temporary Restraining Orders in New Jersey
FAQ: Is a Temporary Restraining Order a Civil or Criminal Case? It’s a civil case that will be handled in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the County in which the restraining order was filed.
FAQ: Is there a public defender for restraining order cases? No. Because it is not a criminal case, there is no right to an attorney. A plaintiff or a defendant can hire private counsel or they can represent themselves at the final restraining order hearing.
FAQ: What is the standard of proof in a restraining order case? Because it’s a civil case, it is a civil standard of proof which is known as “a preponderance of evidence”. This is a “more likely than not” standard so the plaintiff has the burden to prove all of the elements required by a 51% standard.
Need a Lawyer for a Temporary Restraining Order in NJ? Call Us Now
You need an experienced restraining order defense attorney to help you navigate this complicated legal process and combat these serious allegations. Contact the Tormey Law Firm LLC anytime for immediate assistance at (908)-336-5008. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.