New Jersey Courts have been tasked with addressing domestic violence since 1991, when the New Jersey Legislature declared that domestic violence is a serious crime against society. Since that time, Judges in all New Jersey Courts, including Bergen County, have been resolving requests for Restraining Orders.
An individual over the age of 18 can qualify as a victim of domestic violence if they have been subjected to violence by a: spouse; former spouse; or any other person who is a present or former household member. Likewise, if the victim and perpetrator have a child together or are expecting a child together, or the two individuals have been involved in a dating relationship, then there is no age limit set by the act. As of February 2024, the Domestic Violence statute has been expanded to allow victims of stalking and cyber harassment to obtain a restraining order against a perpetrator even without a domestic relationship.
In addition to being a crime, the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C: 25-18 to 2C:25-35) provides for the issuance of a Restraining Order to protect an alleged victim. Restraining Orders take two forms in Bergen County and statewide. The first type of Restraining Order is known as a Temporary Restraining Order. The second type of Restraining Order is known as a Final Restraining Order. Violations of a Temporary Restraining Order or a Final Restraining Order will generally subject the restrained party to criminal charges, when reported by the victim to the authorities.
If you believe you are the victim of a domestic violence incident, your first step should be to get to a safe place and call the local Police Department who can direct you accordingly.
Unfortunately, because of the ex-parte nature of a Temporary Restraining Order, the statute is also sometimes abused by people to try to gain a “leg up” in some related divorce, child custody or other litigation. Domestic violence carries with it severe consequences. It is imperative that if you are falsely accused of domestic violence that you protect yourself.
Our attorneys are experienced in representing both victims of domestic violence and alleged perpetrators. If you are either the victim or have been accused of domestic violence, contact one of our attorneys today.