Domestic violence is a widespread problem that is a legitimate cause for concern in every jurisdiction. The reality of abuse is not limited to any one age, race or ethnic class. Domestic violence affects individuals, children and families. The wider toll it takes for society is also felt in terms of missed employment and economic impact on communities.
New Jersey affords victims of domestic violence a streamlined mechanism to obtain restraining orders against a spouse, partner, or other individual with whom ones has a living or dating relationship. These types of cases are handled via summary proceedings, and are governed under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A 2C:25-17), which establishes procedures to obtain final restraining orders against abusers.
To obtain such an order, one can file a summons and complaint in either municipal or superior court, where after a summary hearing (in essence, a trial) a final restraining order can be obtained if you can prove, both a “predicate act” and the need for protection against future acts or threats of violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should not hesitate to seek help, even if you have to do it alone. You can obtain the forms you need from any town police department or municipal court. If you appear in the Superior Court, Family Division, counties are required to have staff on hand help you fill out the paperwork you need to have served on the alleged abuser.
You will be required to appear before a Judge and explain the charges you make in your complaint. If the Judge finds, by a preponderance of the evidence that you have established both a “predicate act” and a future threat of harm, you will be granted a Final Restraining Order (FRO.) A judge will rely on the proof you present at trial and your credibility. For this reason, it is important for you to consult with an attorney as soon as you can to make sure your case will be presented in a compelling and articulate manner. Consult the Law Offices of Sadaf Trimarchi for a free consultation. Attorney’s fees are available in these types of cases and if you are concerned about financial support, a Judge is empowered to order various means of financial support for a victim of domestic abuse if necessary.
A Final Restraining Order has a significant impact on an individual. If you have been served with a summons and complaint to appear and answer in a DV case, you should speak to an attorney before conceding to any charges made against you. Contact the Law Offices of Sadaf Trimarchi to know your rights.