Union County Restraining Order Lawyer
Final Restraining Order Attorneys in Elizabeth, New Jersey
Restraining order and domestic violence issues in Union County can be daunting. Whether you are alleged to have perpetrated a predicate act of domestic violence or you are the victim of domestic violence, your case will be handled in the County Superior Court that has jurisdiction over the case, that is either in the county in which the parties reside or the county in which the alleged acts of domestic violence occurred. Click here to learn more about when a particular court will have jurisdiction over a restraining order case.
The restraining order attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm have handled domestic violence and restraining order cases for both plaintiffs and defendants. No matter your domestic violence situation, the experienced attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm are here to help you with your restraining order case in Union County including in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Linden, Berkeley Heights, Kenilworth, and New Providence. Contact our offices now for immediate assistance at (908)-336-5008. The initial consultation is always provided at absolutely no cost to you.
Union County is one of the busiest counties for domestic violence restraining orders in which the Tormey Law Firm is involved. In fact, we represented at least 5 clients in Union County court in 2019 where we were able to get their restraining orders dismissed. Here are some of those cases handled:
- Union County restraining order dismissed
- Old restraining order removed for client in Elizabeth
- Mother files temporary restraining order against son, case dismissed
- Final restraining order vacated after motion thanks to Travis Tormey
- Restraining order dismissed after long trial in Elizabeth NJ
Update – Restraining Order Trials in 2022 in Union County – In-Person or Virtual
The Tormey Law Firm has represented at least a half-dozen (6) clients with domestic violence restraining orders in Union County already in 2022 as of the middle of April. In fact, we have had several trials there just in the last few weeks. There are two judges handling most of the domestic violence calendars – Judge Roberts and Judge McDaniel. Judge Roberts is handling all of his cases “in person” while Judge McDaniel is handling all of his cases virtually on Zoom. This is important to know because it effects how you need to handle your case and if you need to upload your evidence beforehand to a dropbox so the court will have access to it for your virtual trial.
If your trial is in person, you just need to print out all of your evidence so you have hard copies and can provide it to the court during the hearing. The Judges do not want to look at text messages or emails on your phone in court. These should be printed and available to the court when you are there having your domestic violence restraining order hearing. On the other hand, if your case is being handled virtually, you need to upload that evidence online to the court’s website dropbox they will provide to you so that the Judge can access it that way. Evidence in restraining order trials can include the following:
- Text messages
- Police Reports
- Pictures of Injuries
- Hospital Records
- Social Media Posts
- Witness testimony
So far in 2022, our experienced Union County restraining order lawyers have had tremendous success handling domestic violence hearings in Elizabeth NJ, both in person and on video court. We have negotiated civil restraints agreements, won a permanent restraining order for a victim of domestic violence, and had a false restraining order dismissed for one of our clients who was accused of domestic violence. Contact our offices anytime for immediate assistance and a free initial consultation.
Here is a review from one of our many satisfied restraining order clients:
“Travis successfully defended me in an unprecedented Final Restraining Order Trial with ease”
“Upon consultation I hired Travis Tormey to defend me in a very emotional and scary time of need where I was facing a potentially devasting FRO. Travis was knowledgeable, comforting, and most importantly confident. THIS GUY KNOWS THE LAW! Watch his YouTube clips, read his reviews, and simply call him to discuss your case. I did and was so impressed with his amazing win in court. Don’t go into court without this guy in your corner. Consulted, hired, and successfully had my day in court. Thanks for everything, I hope I never need a defense attorney again, but if I do, Travis Tormey is the only lawyer I would use. All 5 stars !” – Posted by Aaron
What happens once on a temporary restraining order (TRO) is issued?
Once a temporary restraining order (TRO) is obtained by a Plaintiff, the defendant must be served with the restraining order so they have notice of the domestic violence allegations and the hearing date. The hearing is typically scheduled within ten (10) days of the issuance of the protection order. If the parties reside together, the defendant must leave the home and find temporary housing until the case is resolved. If the final restraining order (FRO) is issued then the defendant will never be allowed to return to the home. If there are children involved, temporary custody will be given while the restraining order is in place. The defendant may be given visitation and parenting time but it’s up to the Judge. If parenting time is given, pick up and drop off of the children must be arranged and is sometimes done at the police station. Other issues such as child support and payment of bills can also be addressed by the Judge in the temporary restraining order. Once the restraining order is served to the Defendant, the case will proceed to a final hearing date.
Once the restraining order is filed, can it be amended?
Yes. If the plaintiff hires an attorney and realizes they should have included more information in the original restraining order, it can be amended. This is done with the court and must be approved by a Judge. Then, the defendant must be served with the new amended restraining order so they have notice of the allegations and a meaningful opportunity to defend themselves in court at the trial.
What happens when we appear in court?
Once the parties appear in court, the Plaintiff essentially has three (3) options: First, he or she can dismiss the order. If they wish to dismiss, they must speak to domestic violence counselors to confirm they are dismissing the restraining order freely and voluntarily and that no one is threatening or forcing them to do so. They must then sign off on some paperwork that they understand their rights and then dismiss the TRO on the record with the Judge.
Second, they can try to negotiate a settlement agreement known as civil restraints to resolve issues such as living arrangements, custody, parenting time, counseling, alimony, etc. if the parties are going to separate or plan to get a divorce (if married). If the parties are married or have a child in common, this agreement can be docketed with the court. If not, the agreement is merely a signed contract between the parties and it will not be docketed or entered with the court.
Last, the plaintiff can proceed and try to get a final restraining order which is permanent in New Jersey and never expires. The hearing will be conducted before a Superior Court Judge in the Family Division. The parties will testify, admit any evidence they have such as emails, voicemails, text messages, police reports, hospital records, pictures of injuries, etc.
If the Judge does not find enough evidence for the restraining order, the case will be dismissed. If the Judge finds sufficient evidence, the final restraining order will be issued. The defendant will be fingerprinted and placed into a database for domestic violence offenders. He or she will be prevented from having any contact with the plaintiff. If the order is violated, the defendant will be arrested and charged with contempt of court. On a 2nd contempt violation in New Jersey, the defendant must serve a mandatory jail sentence.
If the restraining order is dismissed, can I expunge it?
No, there is nothing to expunge. If the restraining order is dismissed, there is no record of it that needs to be expunged. If a potential employer runs a background check, this is known as a criminal case history in New Jersey or “CCH” and a restraining order would not appear (whether it was temporary or final). However, a violation of a restraining order is a criminal charge which results in an arrest and that would appear on a criminal background check which would need to be expunged.
Is a Criminal Charge separate from the Restraining Order?
Yes. If you were arrested and charged criminally with a specific domestic violence charge such as simple assault, aggravated assault, stalking or terroristic threats, those criminal charges are completely separate and apart from your restraining order. They will be handled in a different court with a different standard of proof. The criminal charges must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” and will be prosecuted by the prosecutor for the State of New Jersey. The restraining order, on the other hand, is a civil matter so the standard is “by a preponderance of the evidence” which is more likely than not.
How to remove an old restraining order in Union County Court?
You may be eligible to file a motion to have a final restraining order (FRO) removed in the Union County Superior Court that was issued against you in the past. This is known as a Carfagno motion based on the case of Carfagno v. Carfagno which allows a defendant to apply to the court to remove a restraining order after some time has passed and there has been a significant change in circumstances such that the original restraining order is no longer required. Some of the factors the Judge will consider include the following:
- How much time has passed
- Where do the parties reside
- Any ties (children in common, etc.)
- Any violations of the restraining order
- Does the Plaintiff object to the removal
- Any other domestic violence orders against defendant
UNION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
Domestic violence cases and hearings for restraining orders in Union County will be heard at the Union County Superior Court. The Union County Superior Court is located at, 2 Broad Street Elizabeth, NJ 07207, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and can be contacted at 908-659-4600. Click here for more information regarding the Union County Superior Court. For directions to the Union County Superior Court, click here.
UNION COUNTY FAMILY COURT – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
Restraining orders in Union County Superior Court will be handled by a Judge who sits in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Union County Superior Court. The Presiding Judge of the Union County Family Part is the Honorable Lisa F. Chrystal, P.J.F.P., whose chambers can be contacted at 908-659-4717. The Union County Family Part also has a Domestic Violence Unit, located in the New Annex Building (located directly behind the main courthouse), with court staff dedicated to domestic violence and restraining order cases. The Domestic Violence Unit can be contacted at 908-659-5832. Click here for more information on the Union County Family Court Domestic Violence Unit.
UNION COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
The Union County Prosecutor’s Office is also available for assistance with domestic violence cases and may prosecute criminal charges against those accused of perpetrating crimes related to domestic violence or criminal contempt charges against anyone accused of violating the terms of a temporary or final restraining order in Union County. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office is located at 32 Rahway Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07202 and can be contacted at 908-527-4500. For more information on the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Domestic Violence Unit, click here.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES AND SERVICES IN UNION COUNTY
If you’re the victim of domestic violence in Union County, don’t hesitate to call the confidential National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-572-SAFE (7233), which are available on a 24/7 basis for domestic violence victims and others seeking crisis intervention, and referrals to local services. And click on the following link for the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence to learn about what services and resources are available in Union County.
The YWCA of Union County, Project Protect, located at 131 E Jersey St, Elizabeth, NJ 07201, offers a number of services for the victims of domestic violence in Union County, including a 24/7 domestic violence hotline at 908-355-HELP (4357). For information on emergency shelter options and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence, click on the following link. For information on domestic violence counseling and other services available at Project Protect, click here. The YWCA of Union County also offers batterers intervention services though its Men Against Violence program, which can be contacted at 908-355-1500. For more information on anger management, counseling, and family services in Union County, click here.
In addition to the locally available domestic violence services in Union County, there are also statewide and national services available for the victims of domestic violence. In New Jersey, the Department of Children and Families’ Division on Women, Office of Domestic Violence Services funds twenty-three domestic violence programs and the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women. Click on the following links to learn more about New Jersey’s Office of Domestic Violence Services, the Coalition for Battered Women, or the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
LEGAL SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN UNION COUNTY
Assistance with legal issues for victims of domestic violence in Union County are available through the Elizabeth Office of Central Jersey Legal Services, 60 Prince Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07208, 908-354-3440,
HOW DO I FILE A RESTRAINING ORDER IN UNION COUNTY
If you are the victim of domestic violence in Union County, you can request a temporary restraining order at the Union County Superior Court Domestic Violence Intake Office located in the Annex Building behind the main courthouse. The Domestic Violence Intake Office takes complaints related to restraining orders from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Anytime before 8:30 a.m., after 3:30 p.m., on weekends, or holidays a complaint for a temporary restraining order can be filed at the local police department where the victim of domestic violence resides, where the defendant resides, or where the domestic violence occurred. Click here for the contact information for local police departments in Union County.
Here is an example of a real case we handled for a domestic violence victim in Union County court and obtained a final restraining order (FRO) for her.
How to Appeal a Final Restraining Order in Union County NJ
If a final restraining order (FRO) was issued against you in Union County court, you have the right to appeal the Judge’s decision to the Appellate Division in Trenton, NJ. The appeal must be filed within 45 days of the issuance of the final restraining order (FRO). There are a number of challenges you can make to the Judge’s decision including the following:
- The Judge got the facts wrong
- The Judge got the law wrong
- The Judge allowed evidence that should not have been considered
- The Plaintiff failed to meet the elements required for a final restraining order (FRO)