Domestic violence continues to be a problem throughout NJ. In many cases, the entry of a Final Restraining Order (FRO) is the best course of action for promoting the ongoing safety of the victim. However, there are serious implications to the entry of FRO that can further complicate a divorce case.
One method of affording protection to the victim while minimizing the consequences and constraints of a FRO is for the parties to enter into civil restraints provided that there is a divorce, support, or custody case filed. NOTE: the differences between civil restraints and a FRO are significant and you should discuss these differences with your attorney prior to choosing a particular course of action.
As the case summary below holds, civil restraints do not give the alleged abuse a free pass. Care must be taken to abide by the terms set forth in the civil order so as to not risk future violations.
If you have questions about domestic violence contact The Durst Firm for answers.
FAMILY LAW 20-2-3392 S.G. v. A.G., N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (5 pp.) Defendant appealed from the entry of a final restraining order sought by plaintiff, who alleged that defendant committed the predicate act of harassment by sending her numerous expletive-laced text messages over the course of the early morning continuing into the evening the following day. The trial court granted the FRO, finding that, at the time defendant sent the text messages, his authority to communicate with plaintiff was limited by previously-entered civil restraints due to a prior domestic violence incident to no more than 2 communications per day concerning only issues relating to the parties’ children. The trial court further found a FRO necessary due to plaintiff’s credibly testimony of earlier acts of domestic violence by defendant, which the trial court held demonstrated the reasonableness of plaintiff’s fear of defendant and the necessity of a FRO to protect her from future acts of domestic violence. On appeal, defendant argued that the conduct relied upon by the trial court to find a predicate act did not rise to the level of domestic violence, but was merely domestic contretemps. Defendant further argued that the trial court erred in finding plaintiff’s testimony credible, and that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a need for a FRO to protect her from imminent harm. The court found defendant’s arguments without merit, noting that violation of civil restraint could also be viewed from harassing conduct.