Victims of domestic violence in New Jersey are afforded a wide range of relief when seeking Court intervention. With any Restraining Order - Temporary or Final - the Court must grant any relief necessary to prevent further abuse.
A Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") that is granted may include granting the victim temporary possession of homes, vehicles and/or even custody of children pending a hearing, at which the Court will determine if a Final Restraining Order ("FRO) should be entered. The Final Hearing is required to take place within 10 days of the entry of a TRO, in part because the TRO often displaces Defendants from his/her home and may not permit a Defendant to see his/her children. If a FRO is entered, it is permanent in New Jersey. The only way to terminate a FRO is for either party to make an application to the Court and convince the Court to do so based on several factors.
The Court has the authority to enter temporary custody and/or a parenting time schedule. There is a presumption of custody against a perpetrator of domestic violence in New Jersey. The Court may require the Defendant to exercise supervised parenting time and even suspend parenting time altogether pending the completion of a risk assessment, anger management, psychiatric evaluation or other counseling, treatment and/or interventions designed to evaluate and assess the potential risk to a child of exercising parenting time with the Defendant.
The Defendant can even be required to pay monetary compensation for losses suffered by the victim, pay a fee assessed to abusers, and/or to obtain professional domestic violence counseling. A FRO will likely restrain a Defendant from contact with the victim and sometimes other individuals. A Defendant will also likely be barred from certain locations, such as the residence, school and/or place of employment of the victim and sometimes relatives.
Domestic Violence in New Jersey: Who are the parties involved for an incident to be considered "Domestic Violence"?
In order to qualify for a Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO, the victim and the offender must meet certain criteria under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The victim must:
(1) Be 18 years of age or older or an "emancipated minor" (defined in the statute)
(2) Have been subjected to an act of domestic violence by the offender
(3) The person who allegedly committed the act of domestic violence must be the victim's a spouse, former spouse, present or former household member or someone with whom the victim has a dating relationship, a child in common, including an expected child (i.e. one party is pregnant). If an act of domestic violence covered by the Act occurs, an adult child can seek protection against a parent under the Act, as can a man who went on a few dates with a woman several years ago, roommates and even more distant relatives so long as the parties shared a household for some period of time.