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What Are Grounds for Filing a Restraining Order in New Jersey?


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You don’t deserve to fear for your life or safety, or for that of your children or other family members. If a relative, roommate, spouse, or romantic partner makes threats against you, then you have a right to protection from that harassment. Learn more below about the grounds for filing for a restraining order in New Jersey, and contact a seasoned New Jersey family law attorney for more information.

What Types of People Can Be the Subject of a Restraining Order?

Domestic violence restraining orders are intended to protect people from crimes committed against them in their homes by persons with whom they have an intimate relationship. For this reason, the only people who can become the subjects of restraining orders are people to whom you’re close. These can include:

  • Current or former spouses
  • People who currently live or formerly lived in your home
  • Someone with whom you have had a child, or will soon have a child, or
  • Someone you are currently dating or have dated in the past.

What Acts Will Qualify as the Basis for a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders are issued by New Jersey courts to protect victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence can consist of one of nineteen different crimes committed by a family member, housemate, spouse, or romantic partner. Some of the most common include:

  • Harassment: Repeated contact by an abuser that threatens or is intended to scare, annoy, offend, insult, or embarrass the victim. Harassment can occur over the phone, by text message, through email, in person, or through other messages communicated from the abuser to the victim.

  • Assault: Physical violence or threats of physical violence committed against the victim, with or without a weapon.

  • Criminal restraint or false imprisonment: Criminal restraint occurs when an abuser keeps you from leaving a place where there is a risk of serious bodily injury. False imprisonment similarly involves a victim being prevented from leaving but does not have to include a risk of serious bodily injury.

  • Stalking: Conduct that is intended to make the victim fear for their safety, fear for the safety of someone else, or experience another form of emotional distress. The stalker’s behavior could involve following them, interfering with the victim’s property, sending someone else to follow them, harassing them, or threatening them, so long as the acts were done with the intention of making the victim feel afraid or uneasy.

  • Cyber-harassment: Threats of harm made online against a victim’s person or property, or public posts of an obscene or indecent nature requesting, proposing, or suggesting something involving the victim made with the intent to cause fear of harm, whether physical or emotional.

  • Criminal trespass: A person commits criminal trespass by entering private property without permission to do so, knowing that they need permission and do not have it.

What It Takes to Get a Restraining Order in New Jersey

Victims of domestic violence do not have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person they wish to be protected from has committed the crimes they are alleging in order to get a temporary restraining order. That said, the victim should be prepared to describe the most recent incidents of domestic violence committed by the perpetrator, as well as past incidents of violence, and whether or not they were reported to authorities. If victims have photos of the physical effects of the violence, these can provide powerful support for their claims, but they are not required.

If you need legal help getting a temporary or final restraining order against someone threatening harm against you or your loved ones, contact the compassionate and knowledgeable Englewood domestic violence lawyers at Herbert & Weiss for a confidential consultation at (201) 500-2151

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