New Jersey Domestic Violence Victim Criteria
Domestic Violence Lawyers Serving Victims in Bergen County and throughout NJ
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, contained in N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17, was enacted in 1991 to protect victims of domestic violence. The State Legislature determined the need for this legislation after finding that thousands of individuals from all ethnicities, ages, and socioeconomic strata in New Jersey were regularly abused by their partners or cohabitants. The PDVA provides two forms of relief to victims domestic violence: Civil relief in the form of a restraining order, and criminal relief in the form of criminal prosecution against perpetrators. If you have been threatened, suffered injury, or are in fear for your safety, you may be wondering if you qualify for a restraining order in New Jersey. We highly recommend seeking immediate police assistance if you are in danger. Once you are in a safe place, our highly experienced domestic violence attorneys can assist you in filing a temporary restraining order. We also regularly advocate for domestic violence victims at final restraining order hearings in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Monmouth, Hudson, and other New Jersey counties. It is our mission to use our extensive knowledge and experience in the realm of domestic violence to best serve your interests. For a free consultation about your domestic violence case, call (908)-336-5008 today.
Who Can Qualify for a Restraining Order in NJ?
Under New Jersey law, a “victim of domestic violence” refers to a person protected by the PDVA. This includes any person:
- Who is 18 years of age or older, or who is an emancipated minor, and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a:
- Former spouse,
- Any person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship,
- Any person whom the victim has a child in common or anticipates having a child in common because the victim or abuser is pregnant,
- Any other person who is a present or former household member; or
- Who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person:
- With whom the victim has a child in common, or
- With whom the victim anticipates having a child in common if one of the parties is pregnant; or
- Who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
What is an Emancipated Minor?
Under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a minor is considered emancipated from his or her parents when the minor:
- Is or has been married
- Has entered military service
- Has a child or is pregnant; or
- Has been previously declared by the court or an administrative agency to be emancipated.
Where can I file a TRO?
If you meet the legal criteria for a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey, you can file an application for a temporary restraining order in several locations:
- Where the act of domestic violence occurred
- Where the other party resides
- Where you reside; or
- Where you are sheltered or are temporarily staying.
When can I file a Temporary Restraining Order?
As a victim of domestic violence, you can request a restraining order at anytime. In fact, the New Jersey Domestic Violence Procedures Manual explicitly states “A victim of domestic violence must have access to the courts at all times. Law enforcement, Municipal and Superior Court staff must be advised that victims should never be turned away because of the inconvenience of arranging off-hours emergency relief.” Depending on the day and time at which you are seeking a TRO, there are certain locations where you should go:
During Court hours for domestic violence matters: Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, you should go to the Superior Court, Family Division in one of the above locations. If you cannot make it to the Superior Court, you can also go to the local Municipal Court during business hours.
On weekends, holidays and weekdays after 3:30 pm and other times when Court is closed: you should go to your local police department
For information about how to fill out a Restraining Order Application, click here.
Contact Essex County NJ Domestic Violence Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you are a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey, you are wondering if you can file a restraining order, or you need help obtaining a permanent restraining order, our NJ domestic violence lawyers can help. Call (908)-336-5008 or contact us online for a free consultation.