If you are the victim of domestic violence and would like to obtain a restraining order against your abuser, there are several requirements that must first be met.
Instead of going through the whole application process just to find out that your request was denied, we have provided this information to make your life easier.
Threshold Requirements to Obtain a Restraining Order in NJ
New Jersey case law reveals that there are several requirements you need to meet, before a judge will grant your request for a restraining order against your abuser.
First and foremost you need to meet the threshold relationship requirements. This means your abuser must have been:
- A person you are expecting to have a child in common with due to being pregnant
- A person you have a child in common with
- A present household member who is 18 or older
- A present household member who is an emancipated minor
- Someone you are or were in a dating relationship with
- Your spouse or former spouse
What You Needs to Prove to Get a Restraining Order in New Jersey
After successfully establishing your eligibility to apply for a restraining order, your application will need to establish several things in order for it to be granted.
For example, you need to be able to prove concretely that: 1) your abuser actually threatened you and 2) that a reasonable person in your shoes would have felt threatened. (See Cesare v. Cesare, 713 A. 2d 390.)
Additionally, New Jersey courts have established that you must also show that there was a prior history of abuse between you and your abuser. In other words, one isolated incident will not be enough to get a restraining order; you need to show a course of alarming conduct. (See Silver v. Silver, 903 A. 2d 446.)
Likewise, unless you are the victim of a direct physical assault, you will need to show that your abuser had a “purpose to harass” you. For example, simply “friending” your new boyfriend on Facebook, sending you regular e-mails, and calling you more often than you would like (despite telling him never to contact you again) will not be enough to get a restraining order unless you can prove that the abuser did all of that to purposefully harass you. (See S.M.K v. C.R, Appellate Div. 2011.)
Moreover, you will need to prove that obtaining the restraining order is necessary to protect you from “an immediate danger” or to “prevent further abuse” (See Silver v. Silver, 903 A. 2d 446.) Consequently, the actions of your abuser cannot just be annoying; they must be serious and potentially harmful.
How to Meet These Requirements
As you can see, this is a lot to prove. Therefore, it is vital to hire an experienced attorney to help you surmount all of these legal hurdles with the best possible evidence you can provide.
It is highly advised that all victims keep a domestic violence journal logging each time that your abuser verbally or physically attacks you. If admitted as evidence at your hearing, this can then be used as a powerful tool against your abuser.
As a technical note: if your abuser’s attorney attempts to exclude your journal from evidence as hearsay, your attorney should argue (among other things) that the statements contained within the document amount to present sense impressions, statements of your then existing mental state, and that exclusion would be unfairly prejudicial to your interests.
Presuming the journal entries are admitted as evidence, the statements you logged can help you establish much of what needs to be proven while also painting a mental picture of your story to the judge.
Eye witness testimony, photographs, and video evidence will also help you make your case stronger.
Remember, your safety (and well-being) is on the line. Make sure you hire an experienced attorney to help you successfully obtain a restraining order in NJ.
Who Should You Contact?
If you are interested in having an attorney help you obtain a domestic violence restraining order in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm. His team of experienced attorneys will fight to get you the results you want and do all they can to keep you safe. Call today at 888-815-3649.