Restraining Orders Against Domestic Violence
New Jersey offers strong protections against domestic violence. Under N.J. Stat. §§ 2C:25-28, a victim of domestic violence may petition the New Jersey family court for a restraining order removing the perpetrator from the home and preventing the perpetrator from having any contact with the victim. New Jersey enforces temporary and final restraining orders with criminal and civil penalties. Violators face arrest, jail, conviction for criminal contempt or disorderly persons offense, and civil penalties. A New Jersey restraining order can provide a domestic violence victim with powerful protections and substantial relief.
What happens then if the perpetrator follows you out of state? Does a New Jersey restraining order apply in other states? Can other states enforce a New Jersey restraining order?
When Restraining Orders Extend to Other States
State court orders generally apply in proceedings within the issuing state. However, the Constitution's full-faith-and-credit clause and federal statute 28 U.S.C. §1738 require states to respect the laws and court orders of other states. In case those provisions left any question, the federal Violence Against Women Act explicitly requires that states recognize the valid restraining orders of other states. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2265 and the following statute 18 U.S.C. § 2266, another state outside New Jersey must recognize a New Jersey restraining order whenever the New Jersey court:
- issued the order “for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, sexual violence, or contact or communication with or physical proximity to, another person”;
- had jurisdiction over the perpetrator, generally meaning that the perpetrator either has a substantial connection with New Jersey, committed an act of abuse in New Jersey or was in New Jersey when served with the complaint; and
- gave the perpetrator notice of the proceeding and an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
In short, other states are likely to enforce your New Jersey domestic violence restraining order. Indeed, they must do so if your order satisfies the above three conditions. New Jersey's family courts generally ensure that the order meets the federal conditions for nationwide enforcement when issuing restraining orders. New Jersey family law attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm can help ensure that you can enforce your New Jersey restraining order nationwide.
Enforcing Your Restraining Order in Another State
You need not do anything special to get your valid New Jersey restraining order enforced in another state. On the contrary, the Violence Against Women Act makes your New Jersey order enforceable in other states, even if you fail to register the order with the other state. Some states have filing and registration systems for foreign-state restraining orders. You may want to file or register your New Jersey order in another state, just to ease and speed enforcement. But you need not file or register your New Jersey order in another state. Other states must still enforce your valid New Jersey order. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2), “Any protection order that is otherwise consistent with this section shall be accorded full faith and credit, notwithstanding failure to comply with any requirement that the order be registered or filed in the enforcing State, tribal, or territorial jurisdiction.”
Enforcing a Temporary Restraining Order in Another State
A New Jersey family court can issue an emergency ex parte temporary restraining order. Ex parte simply means that the perpetrator has not yet received notice that the victim has sought an order. Notice to the perpetrator could trigger more abuse. The New Jersey court can issue a temporary order without notice. Once the temporary order is in place, the court must give the perpetrator a hearing if they wish to tell their side of the story. Temporary orders last until the court offers a hearing on the final restraining order. New Jersey courts generally conduct the hearing within ten days of issuing the temporary order.
Other states must enforce valid New Jersey temporary restraining orders. However, other states will not enforce temporary orders that have expired. If your restraining order is only temporary, you will generally need to follow through with any hearing necessary for a final restraining order to enforce the order nationwide for other than the short duration of the temporary order. Other states generally lack the authority to extend an order that another state has issued only temporarily. Be sure to finish your New Jersey legal proceeding in New Jersey if you want long-term protection. Let New Jersey family law attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm help you turn your temporary restraining order into a valid final restraining order. Then, you'll have long-term nationwide protection against further abuse. Don't leave behind unfinished business.
Get the Best Available New Jersey Family Law Attorney
Under N.J. Stat. §§ 2C:25-28, the New Jersey family court clerk must help you file a complaint for a temporary restraining order. You may be able to get a temporary restraining order for your immediate protection. But seeking any court order can be a confusing experience, and seeking an order against domestic abuse can be frightening, even harrowing. Getting a valid final restraining order that provides you with all the sensible relief that you need can also be complex. The challenges compound when the perpetrator appears in court to dispute the facts. Trying to manage a legal proceeding for a valid final restraining order enforceable nationwide is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.
For the best results in obtaining a valid New Jersey restraining order enforceable long term and nationwide, retain the best available New Jersey family law attorney. Contact New Jersey family law attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm now. Call 888.535.3686 or contact the Firm online.