Sometimes, a restraining order becomes necessary in order to protect domestic violence victims. A restraining order is issued by a court and prevents the person who is named in that order from communicating with the victim and sometimes their children as well. Anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence may seek a restraining order, and if there is a history of violence, the court may also prohibit an abuser from possessing a firearm.
Even though a restraining order will not put an abuser in jail (unless he or she violates it), it does become a part of the abuser’s permanent record. Under New Jersey law, domestic abuse may include any of the following acts:
- Sexual assault
- Criminal trespass
- Terroristic threats
- Lewd behavior
New Jersey courts can issue two different types of restraining orders — temporary or permanent. A temporary retraining order provides protection for a victim until a court hearing can determine whether that order should be permanent. During that hearing, a family court judge will hear evidence from the victim and the accused abuser as well as testimony from any witnesses that support the evidence.
In order to grant a final restraining order, a court must find that these specific requirements have been met:
- A history of domestic violence has been proven.
- The victim has reason to fear for his or her safety.
- A restraining order will protect the victim.
There are various penalties for violating a restraining order, which is considered contempt of court. Each violation is a criminal offense, and penalties can include jail time as well as fines for the first offense. For subsequent offenses, the penalty is at least 30 days in jail.
It is important that you do not wait too long to retain an attorney when you are facing a family law issue. Delays can cost you valuable legal rights, and you want to make sure that you have the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family long after the divorce settlement is reached. Contact us today for your free consultation.