If you are looking to file a restraining order against another individual in New Jersey or anticipate having a restraining order filed against you, it is likely that you have questions regarding the steps involved in the process of issuing a restraining order, how restraining order papers are served, and what your rights are under the law.
Understanding the restraining order process is important if you are involved in a domestic dispute. Family law attorney Joseph D. Lento at The Lento Law Firm has extensive experience handling restraining orders and domestic violence matters in New Jersey, with a demonstrated track record of achieving favorable outcomes for his New Jersey clients.
Grounds For Filing a Restraining Order in New Jersey
In New Jersey, any individual who believes that they are being threatened with violence, harassment, or stalking may file for a restraining order to prevent the person who poses a threat from contacting them or coming within a certain proximity to them. Specific requirements must be met in order to file for a restraining order in New Jersey, which include the following:
- Plaintiff (the person filing for the restraining order) has been the victim of a recent act of domestic violence, including harassment, threats, and assault
- Plaintiff must demonstrate that a domestic violence incident occurred recently
- Plaintiff must demonstrate the defendant has a history of violence
In addition to the above, it must also be demonstrated that the plaintiff and the defendant are current or former dating partners, that they presently reside together or previously resided together, and that the plaintiff and the defendant have a child together.
It is important to note that the individual filing for a restraining order must also demonstrate that, at that given moment in time, the restraining order is the only means available to them to protect themselves from the defendant. In some situations, a restraining order is requested under false pretenses as a way to punish or manipulate the defendant.
Two Types of Restraining Orders: Temporary and Final
There are two types of restraining orders: a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a final restraining order (FRO), the purpose of which is to help victims of abuse and violence.
A TRO—also referred to as an “ex parte” restraining order—is issued immediately, without informing the defendant, in order to provide protection right away. Ten days after the issuance of a TRO, the New Jersey courts must schedule a hearing to determine whether the TRO should be dismissed or if a FRO should be issued.
Steps Involved in Filing a Temporary Restraining Order
In order to file for a restraining order, the plaintiff must complete the required paperwork and go before a judge, who makes the determination as to whether or not a TRO is warranted in the situation. If a TRO is issued, it must include the parameters regarding what the defendant may and may not do prior to the FRO hearing, which is scheduled within ten days. Once a TRO has been issued, it is served to the defendant as soon as possible, and the defendant must sign to confirm that they are in receipt of the order.
How Is a Restraining Order Served in New Jersey?
There are several different ways a restraining order may be served in New Jersey, depending upon the details of the case. If the plaintiff obtained a TRO and the defendant has not been arrested, a police officer escorts the plaintiff to their home. If the defendant is present, the officer then reads the terms of the TRO to the defendant. The defendant is then instructed to gather their belongings and leave the premises. If the defendant does not comply with the TRO, they will be arrested. If the terms of the TRO specify that the defendant is to be arrested, then the officer will arrest the defendant.
If the defendant cannot be located in order to serve the restraining order, the police will attempt to locate the defendant as soon as possible. The TRO is then forwarded to family court to notify them that the restraining order could not be served. The police keep copies of the restraining order so that it may be served as soon as the defendant is located.
If a TRO or a FRO is issued and it requires that service must be done outside of the issuing county, then the police must contact the appropriate agency in the municipality where the defendant lives or works so that they can service the restraining order. The TRO must be signed by the defendant. If the defendant refuses to sign the TRO, it is noted by the issuing police officer, and the defendant is considered to have been served. The date, time, and location of the final restraining order hearing is listed on the TRO; it is critical to contact a New Jersey family law attorney with experience handling domestic violence and restraining order matters to represent you at the final restraining order hearing.
Have More Questions Regarding How Restraining Order Papers are Served in New Jersey? Arrange for a Consultation with Top-Rated Attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm
The restraining order process in New Jersey can be confusing, and it is understandable to have questions regarding how restraining order papers are served, the steps involved, and what your rights are under the law. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have extensive experience handling restraining order matters and is dedicated to working to protect the rights and interests of those involved. Attorney Lento is available to answer your questions concerning restraining orders, and the Lento Law Firm offers confidential consultations. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or online to schedule yours.