Resolving your domestic violence case with civil restraints? Be careful of what you ask for!

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.

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Remember the real meaning of Memorial Day.

While we enjoy the unofficial start of summer, hopefully with family and friends, The Durst Firm asks that you take a moment to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. Think about those families that can no longer be whole because a loved one paid the ultimate price for us.

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Log on to Facebook & get served with a lawsuit

Used by millions of people, Facebook is typically used to connect friends and family.  However, in another example of how technology and the law intersect, Facebook can now be uses to connect you with your legal adversaries!  This development is explained in the article in the NJ Law Journal that can be found utilizing the following link: http://www.njlawjournal.com/home/id=1202785980985#

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Technology and Domestic Violence

As technology advances, so must the concepts of what acts may constitute domestic violence.  As the case summarized below indicates, the surreptitious use of video cameras, tracking devices, and similar devices may qualify as an act of domestic violence. This can be true even if the victim finds out about the surveillance after the fact.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE : COVERT SURVEILLANCE

The judge found the very placement of hidden surveillance equipment was designed to check plaintiff’s movements and created a climate of fear and anxiety for plaintiff, which constituted harassment. Further, the judge rejected defendant’s testimony as not credible. Defendant’s assertion he used cameras to monitor their mother’s physical health could not justify the secret placement of units in and around his sister’s living space or the number of units installed.

 

P.M. v. A.D.M., Jr., New Jersey App. Div., May 9, 2017

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Ignoring your divorce won’t make it go away

Dealing with a divorce can be difficult and it is understandable that individuals may feel overwhelmed.  This feeling of being overwhelmed results in some people choosing to ignore the process. Whether this is done due to feelings of denial, frustration, or simply being unable to cope, ignoring the proceedings can have significant negative consequences.

If you fail to respond to the Complaint for Divorce within 35 days of being served, the other party can have you held in default. Simply put, this means that provided the plaintiff follows all the procedural requirements he or she can divorced on their proposed terms without your input or objection.

The following case summary explains the realities of defaulting in your divorce:

FAMILY LAW
20-2-2783 Mora v. Mora

FAMILY LAW
20-2-2783 Mora v. Mora, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (9 pp.) Respondent-husband filed a divorce complaint to which appellant-wife failed to answer. Respondent filed a notice of proposed final judgment which included an itemization of the parties’ assets and included a proposed trial date. The trial court conducted a hearing and entered a final judgment of divorce at its conclusion. Appellant was present at the hearing. Appellant subsequently moved to vacate the FJOD allegedly claiming that respondent’s attorney had a conflict of interest, she had not been served with the divorce complaint, and was unaware of the pending divorce. The trial court determined there was no conflict of interest or showing of excusable neglect in failing to answer the complaint or otherwise participate in the litigation and affirmed the FJOD. On appeal, the court affirmed holding the trial court’s denial of appellant’s motion did not constitute an abuse of discretion. The court noted the grounds which appellant asserted to support her motion were unsupported by, and in some instances contrary, to the facts. Additionally, the trial court gave appellant the opportunity to participate in the proof hearing by questioning respondent, but appellant declined to do so. Finally, the court held appellant had not demonstrated the trial court’s decision was inherently unfair or contrary to applicable legal principles.

, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (9 pp.) Respondent-husband filed a divorce complaint to which appellant-wife failed to answer. Respondent filed a notice of proposed final judgment which included an itemization of the parties’ assets and included a proposed trial date. The trial court conducted a hearing and entered a final judgment of divorce at its conclusion. Appellant was present at the hearing. Appellant subsequently moved to vacate the FJOD allegedly claiming that respondent’s attorney had a conflict of interest, she had not been served with the divorce complaint, and was unaware of the pending divorce. The trial court determined there was no conflict of interest or showing of excusable neglect in failing to answer the complaint or otherwise participate in the litigation and affirmed the FJOD. On appeal, the court affirmed holding the trial court’s denial of appellant’s motion did not constitute an abuse of discretion. The court noted the grounds which appellant asserted to support her motion were unsupported by, and in some instances contrary, to the facts. Additionally, the trial court gave appellant the opportunity to participate in the proof hearing by questioning respondent, but appellant declined to do so. Finally, the court held appellant had not demonstrated the trial court’s decision was inherently unfair or contrary to applicable legal principles.

 

Hiring an attorney is one method in which you can minimize the chances you will be held in default.  There may also be remedial measures that can be taken if default has already been entered.

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