New Jersey State Bar Association
Bergen County Bar Association

Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Attorney Representing People in Bergen County and Beyond

People who have been abused or harassed in New Jersey may be able to obtain a restraining order. A restraining order is a civil order from the court intended to stop an abuser or harasser from continuing to harm a victim. It may require that the abuser stay a certain distance from the victim, their home, or their place of work. Often, victims of domestic violence seek restraining orders. Victims of domestic violence are anybody subject to violence from a spouse, former spouse, or other household member when the victim is either at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. At Leopold Law, our Bergen County restraining order lawyer understands an order’s impact on a family law case. Howard Leopold may be able to help you get a restraining order or stop a restraining order from being taken out against you.

Procedures Involving Restraining Orders

New Jersey passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act in 1982. The goal of the law was to protect victims of domestic violence. Victims are entitled to obtain a restraining order to limit the contact of a perpetrator. Thousands of temporary restraining orders are issued each year.

Domestic violence in New Jersey can include assault, sexual assault, homicide, lewdness, criminal sexual conduct, restraint, kidnapping, threats of bodily harm, stalking, and trespassing. The critical issue is that the crime is perpetrated against a current or former family or household member, or someone whom the perpetrator has dated. Often, domestic violence persists over time or recurs, and a restraining order may be the only effective way to stop the violence.

A victim can apply for a restraining order even if a particular incident has not been reported to the police or the police have not come to the scene. The application can be made ex parte, which means that the perpetrator will not be given notice of it. A restraining order attorney can guide Bergen County residents through this process. Victims who are scared of an abuser or harasser are able to tell the judge their side of the story, and an initial or temporary restraining order can be granted solely based on the victim's sworn testimony. The temporary restraining order can stop the perpetrator from going back to where the domestic violence happened, even if it is their home. It can also allow a judge to permit the police to search a location and seize any weapons. The temporary restraining order provides immediate protection and is served on the perpetrator after being issued.

However, both parties can prepare for a hearing related to a final restraining order. When a victim is able to prove their case at this stage, a restraining order with more comprehensive terms can be put in place. The restraining order can prevent the perpetrator from contacting the victim at all. Since there is often an intimate relationship between a victim and a perpetrator of domestic violence, a restraining order can have a significant impact on family law matters, including child custody and visitation. Thus, you should enlist a Bergen County restraining order attorney who is familiar with the many facets of a restraining order’s effect.

If a restraining order is put in place, a perpetrator who violates it becomes guilty of criminal contempt. This means that they can be penalized through the criminal justice system, and they may face up to $10,000 in fines and 18 months in prison.

Except in very unusual situations, a victim of abuse is likely to be granted custody of minor children instead of the perpetrator. An abusive or harassing parent may be ordered to pay child support as well as spousal support. However, they may be granted visitation as well. Victims of domestic violence who believe that their kids are also in danger of being abused should let the court know why they believe this. For example, if a perpetrator has hit the kids or punished them in a way that was disproportionate to the situation and abusive, it would be appropriate to let the court know this. Sometimes a perpetrator is ordered to receive counseling and remove their personal belongings from a shared residence.

Consult an Experienced Restraining Order Lawyer in Bergen County

Our dedicated legal team at Leopold Law may be able to help you obtain or fight a restraining order in Northern New Jersey. Additionally, we can guide you through the family law and divorce issues that may come up in connection with the restraining order. We handle cases throughout Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, and Essex Counties. Call Leopold Law at (201) 345-5907 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation.

Client Reviews
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