Domestic Violence – Silver v. Silver and A.M.C. v. P.B.
Domestic violence is still a pervasive problem in the United States, and New Jersey is no exception. If domestic violence is an issue in a relationship, the abused partner can request a final restraining order under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The law recognizes that domestic violence comes in many forms, and provides a method of seeking protection to victims of domestic violence.
The central case in determining if a final restraining order is appropriate in a given case is called Silver v. Silver. In that case, the New Jersey appellate court articulated the required test for whether a party should receive a final restraining order. The test has two prongs. First, the requesting party must show that the abuser has committed one or more of the acts listed under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Next, the court must determine whether there is a need for a continuing order protect the victim from further harm. The court stated that merely showing that the abuser had committed one of the violent acts listed under the Domestic Violence Act was not enough. The guiding question is whether the order is necessary to protect the victim from immediate danger.
In a recent case, the Appellate Court addressed the second prong of the Silver test in a case styled A.M.C. v. P.B. In that case, the plaintiff wife filed for and was granted a temporary restraining order. In the application, she alleged that the defendant had committed harassment, assault, and terrorist threats, fulfilling the first prong of the Silver test. The trial court determined that the husband had assaulted the wife in an attempt to keep her from fleeing the marital home, and that another act of violence had occurred just three weeks before. Despite this, the trial court denied her request for a final restraining order. The trial court determined that because the husband had not contacted the wife for ten days before the hearing and the parties did not share children together, the wife did not need the protection of the final restraining order. The appellate court disagreed. The appellate court stated that where a court finds that the requesting party satisfies the first prong of the Silver test, the question of whether the issue a final restraining order “is most often perfunctory and self-evident.”
We have extensive experience in assisting our clients in domestic violence relationships. to discuss how we can help you protect yourself in the future.