In Divorce and Family Law

According to New Jersey’s Appellate Division, if a former partner threatens a person’s new partner, they can obtain a restraining order. In the case of D.S. v. E.R. (A-3792-21), the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant had a substantial history of abusive behavior.  Although the Plaintiff and Defendant had broken up, the Defendant began calling the Plaintiff “in a drunken state informing her that he wanted to rekindle the relationship.”  During the telephone call, the Defendant began threatening the Plaintiff’s new boyfriend, saying he would “slice his throat.”

At trial, the Plaintiff introduced text messages in which the Defendant admitted threatening to slice the Plaintiff’s new boyfriend’s throat.  Based on the substantial history of domestic violence, and the consistency between the Plaintiff’s allegations and the text messages between the parties, the trial court granted a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”).

The Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court misapplied the law regarding “terroristic threats,” because the treats were not made to the Plaintiff, but to the Plaintiff’s new boyfriend.  The Appellate Division disagreed, holding that the applicable section of New Jersey’s law on terroristic threats, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3(a), does not require the terroristic threat to me made directly to the Plaintiff, and “… can be made indirectly through a third party.”  Citing the cases of McGowan v. O’Rourke, and State v. Milano, our Appellate Division pointed out that “[a] threat communicated to a third party may in appropriate circumstances be sufficient to require the granting of a FRO. … Therefore, the proper focus under section (a) is on defendant’s state of mind and intentions when comments are made”.

If you have received threats of harm to a loved one, the case of D.S. v. E.R. may help you obtain an Final Restraining Order against the person making the threats.  The attorneys of Meyerson, Fox & Conte, P.A. are experienced and aggressive in protecting victims of domestic violence.