A Guide to Filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
If you find yourself in a harmful situation where a restraining order may be necessary, but do not know how to file or where to go, there are a couple of steps you can take prior to a court determining if a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”) is necessary in your situation.
First, your safety is the number one priority. If you need emergency assistance, call 9-1-1. There are also local domestic violence shelters that can provide various resources and support for you during this difficult time and help you get you out of harm’s way.
Next, an application for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) can be made at your local county Superior Courthouse, which accepts applications Monday-Friday from 8:30am until 4:00pm. Upon entering the courthouse, inquire from a court staff member or sheriff’s officer where you can apply for a restraining order within the courthouse. If it is after-hours (from 4:00pm-8:30am) or a weekend, you can file an application for a TRO at your local police station. A court clerk or police officer will ask you questions regarding the incident of domestic violence and will assist you in filling out the TRO application.
After the application is processed, you will be required to take part in a hearing ex-parte (without the other party present) where the Judge will ask you questions regarding your application. The Judge will then determine if the incident meets New Jersey’s legal standard of entering a TRO and will issue the TRO if the circumstances meet the legal standard. You should also be aware that if the court grants your TRO application, an FRO hearing will be scheduled within 10 days to determine if the TRO should be made permanent.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, if you would like to file a TRO application with the Superior Court, it is important to call the courthouse during operating hours before showing up, as interviews for TRO’s with court staff or hearings before a Judge for a TRO may need to be conducted by telephone or virtual video-conferencing platforms.
Finally, it is important to hire a skilled attorney who is experienced in handling domestic violence matters for the FRO hearing. The issuance of an FRO can impact various areas of your life, as it is permanent unless it is voluntarily withdrawn or there is a successful application with the court that there is no longer a need for the FRO. A TRO only lasts until it either voluntarily dismissed or converted to a FRO. This FRO hearing will not be ex parte like the TRO hearing, meaning that the party against whom the TRO is against will be present and have the opportunity to defend him/herself. The Judge will apply the facts of your case to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act as well as New Jersey case law, in particular, Silver v. Silver, 387 N.J. Super. 113, 125-126 (App. Div. 2006), which sets forth the legal standard for determining whether or not the victim proved that an act of domestic violence had occurred and that a Final Restraining Order is necessary to protect the victim from further acts of violence.
Let Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help You Obtain a Restraining Order
If you are worried about obtaining a temporary or final restraining order, contact the experienced team at Lyons & Associates, P.C. to learn more about domestic violence law in New Jersey. With our expert advice, you will have the resources you need to determine how to appropriately move forward with applying for a restraining order and protecting yourself from harm.
Contact us online or call us today at (908) 575-9777 to schedule a free consultation.
By: Nicole Rohan, Esq.