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Domestic Violence and Temporary Restraining Orders in New Jersey

In New Jersey, domestic violence is considered to be a serious crime, and if you are a victim of domestic abuse there is help available. A New Jersey Temporary Restraining Order can give you protection and will shield you from your abuser, and it can be sought at either the local police station or the Family Division of your county’s Superior Court (where you or the defendant live or where the abuse or harassment occurred).

Note that for you to get a domestic violence restraining order, there needs to be a special relationship between you and the abuser. You may be eligible for a restraining order against a person who committed an act of domestic violence against you if that person is: your spouse or former spouse, any present or former household member (if you are 18 or older, or an emancipated minor), someone with whom you have a child or are pregnant with his baby, and someone you are dating or have dated.

If you are seeking a Temporary Restraining Order, go to the county courthouse (during regular business hours) or local police station (anytime), and tell the clerk or officer on duty that you are seeking a Temporary Restraining Order as you are a victim of domestic violence. Explain the act of violence perpetrated against you, and use specific details such as dates and descriptive words to explain physical or verbal acts of violence.

After you have filled out the paperwork detailing all the domestic abuse you have suffered (both past and present), a judge will speak to you and ask questions about your situation. Make sure that you explain all acts of violence carefully to present an exact picture of your domestic situation. Once your case has been heard, the judge will decide if a New Jersey Temporary Restraining Order should be issued.

In addition to providing you protection from your abuser, the NJ Temporary Restraining Order can also offer you certain relief. For example:

1.) An order can require that the person who committed the act of domestic violence must stay away from a victim’s person, home, workplace, school, or other such location. This can include, an order not to call or contact the protected person by mail, e-mail, or even text messages.

2.) An order can also establish temporary support and custody* until the matter is properly addressed in the divorce or non-dissolution action in court.

If the judge grants you a Temporary Restraining Order, the police officers have the authority to remove the abuser from your home, to protect you from further abuse. Note that the abuser will be temporarily prevented from returning to your home, regardless of whether the residence or household is his or hers, yours, or jointly owned/leased by both of you.

*An order can also set up a temporary visitation schedule for the defendant to see the children with designated locations for pickups and drop-offs.