Can I Get A Restraining Order Against My Roommate?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 10, 2022 | 0 Comments

In today's high-priced housing market, where even studio apartments can be ridiculously expensive, it's common for people to seek out roommates to share housing costs. But what if your roommate turns out to be not so nice? What if they turn nasty and begin threatening you–or even become physically violent?

New Jersey Law Allows Roommates To Get Restraining Orders

In New Jersey, anyone 18 or older who has experienced domestic violence from a roommate may be granted a restraining order. Domestic violence encompasses assault, harassment, stalking, cyberstalking, and violence between people who have lived together, regardless of the nature of their relationship.

New Jersey courts can grant temporary protective orders to people whose roommates present an immediate threat. But the threats, violence, harassment, or intimidation must have been relatively recent:

  • A single, minor instance that happened six months ago will not qualify.
  • If a single, minor instance has been followed by a series of escalating events, a hearing officer is more likely to grant the temporary protective order.

Joseph D. Lento and his team have advised many individuals who were being harassed or intimidated by roommates but were unsure whether they'd be able to persuade a court to grant a restraining order.

Restraining orders can be obtained by going to the courthouse near the victim's residence, the courthouse closest to where the violence occurred, or the one closest to where the victim is temporarily staying. Applications are made at the clerk's office of the court's Domestic Violence Unit of the Superior Court/Family Division, weekdays between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM, to submit the application.

A victim may work with a court staff member who will interview them to gather the main facts. Victims often find it difficult and upsetting to describe what occurred to a court official. A member of the Lento Law Firm staff can work with the victim to help them explain what happened in a clear, thorough manner.

At the hearing, the hearing officer will ask questions and decide whether to grant a Temporary Protective Order. Whether it is granted or not, the hearing officer will then set a date for a hearing on whether a Full (permanent) Protective Order should be issued, to take place within the next ten days. The alleged attacker must be served notice by law enforcement and have enough time to prepare for the hearing. On the day of the hearing, a member of the Lento Law Firm team can provide strong support to the person testifying.

Under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, after a restraining order is issued, the victim and perpetrator may not occupy the same home. Therefore, if the hearing officer grants the victim's request, one of the parties must move out. The hearing officer has the discretion to determine which party will be ordered to move out. Most of the time, the perpetrator rather than the victim is ordered to move out.

If you need advice about obtaining or contesting a restraining order against a roommate, contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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