Civil Restraining Orders

Domestic violence remains a widespread problem in the United States, and New Jersey, unfortunately, is no exception.  The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act provides options for victims of domestic violence to obtain protection from their abusers.  One method is to request a restraining order from the court to prevent the abuser from coming around or contacting the victim.  This is achieved by requesting a temporary restraining order from the court.  If the court grants the order, a hearing will be set at which both parties will present evidence and the court will decide if the order should be a final restraining order.  A civil restraining order is an option that could provide protection for the victim while still being less severe than a final restraining order.

A civil restraining order is one that would be negotiated by an attorney on the victim’s behalf before the final restraining order hearing.  Like a final restraining order, a civil restraining order prevents contact between the parties.  A final restraining order can provide some severe consequences for a person against whom the order is made.  If that person works in the military or law enforcement, for example, they could lose security clearance or their jobs because of a final restraining order.  A civil restraining order will not have that effect.  The repercussions and enforcement methods for violation of a final restraining order are also quite different than those available for violation of a civil restraining order.  If someone violates a civil restraining order, the victim may file a motion with the court requesting the violating party be sanctioned.  These hearings are not considered an emergency and may take four to six weeks before a hearing is set.  Violation of a civil restraining order, as the name suggests, is not considered a criminal matter.  In contrast, if a party violates a final restraining order, he or she could be immediately arrested and face criminal charges.  Getting a civil restraining order has many benefits, including avoiding the uncertainty of having a final restraining order hearing.  However, a victim of domestic violence should not agree to a civil restraining order when he or she still feels there is a legitimate and immediate danger posed by the abuser.

We have extensive experience in helping our clients with cases involving domestic violence. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 to discuss your case and what we can do to help protect you and your rights.

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