Final Restraining Order
Within 10 days of a Temporary Restraining Order being issued in New Jersey, a Final Restraining Order hearing will take place. It is at this hearing that the plaintiff (the person alleging domestic violence), and the defendant (the accused party), will be given the chance to present evidence and testimony, and defend their best interests as they see them.
Since any New Jersey Final Restraining Order, once issued, will last indefinitely, the importance of retaining experienced legal representation during this hearing cannot be stressed enough. Considering the many protections, restrictions, consequences, and implications a Final Restraining Order can have for either party, and its permanent duration, it is critical that you speak with a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney as quickly as possible following the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order in order to best prepare your case.
At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients successfully through the entire Final Restraining Order process in Madison, Randolph, Florham Park, Hanover, Tewksbury, Morristown, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey. Whether you are the victim of domestic violence and abuse and are seeking legal protection, or have been wrongly accused of domestic violence and are now facing the potential of a Final Restraining Order being filed against you, our family law team is prepared to thoroughly investigate your unique situation, and present highly effective and informed arguments to the court which protect your safety, freedoms, and legal future.
Contact our firm today to schedule a comprehensive and confidential consultation regarding your Final Restraining Order and your options moving forward.
What Are the Consequences and Restrictions of a Final Restraining Order?
As already mentioned, Final Restraining Orders in New Jersey once issued are permanent, until either the plaintiff requests that the order be removed, or the accused party secures a dismissal in a particularly difficult process.
Final Restraining Orders can provide a wide variety of protections for the abuse victim, as well as a number of restrictions, limitations, and consequences for the defendant.
The protections an FRO can provide for the domestic violence victim include:
- Prohibiting contact and further harassment between the parties
- Preventing contact between the abuser and the children, family, or employer of the plaintiff
These can include not only direct contact, phone contact, email, and messaging, but also prevent the accused party from physically approaching any of these entities within a certain distance.
Beyond these limitations, FRO’s also have a number of important implications and consequences for the defendant as well, including:
- Negatively impacting a pending child custody agreement or causing a child custody modification
- Preventing purchase or possession of a firearm
- Potential reimbursement of the plaintiff’s financial losses
- Mandatory attendance of drug or alcohol counseling
- Being placed on a national domestic violence watch list accessible by law enforcement agencies
- Potentially losing their job if they work for a state or federal institution
Clearly, a great deal is at stake for both sides during any Final Restraining Order hearing. As with any legal matter so important to your financial, legal, and parental future, it is highly recommended that you retain the counsel of an experienced domestic violence attorney during this process.
The Final Restraining Order Hearing
While the evidentiary requirements for securing a Temporary Restraining Order are fairly low, during a Final Restraining Order hearing firm evidence must be presented regarding the allegations of domestic violence. This can include anything from photos, medical records, and police reports, to third-party witness and character testimony.
In order for a judge to ultimately issue a Final Restraining order, they must find three specific factors to be true:
- The plaintiff and the defendant must have a relationship which qualifies under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (the requirements of which you can view here)
- The plaintiff (the accused party) must have committed a predicate act of domestic violence
- There is a need for legal restraints in order to prevent future acts of domestic violence
Since the FRO hearing process involves a great deal of evidence presentation, examination of witnesses, and cross examinations, it is highly recommended that you consult with our Hanover domestic violence attorneys in order to help you through this complicated, yet critical, process.
Dismissing a Final Restraining Order
As previously noted, all New Jersey Final Restraining Orders are permanent, and do not require renewal, or any other actions by the plaintiff to secure their continuation. However, it may be possible for either the plaintiff or the defendant to dismiss an existing restraining order through a motion to vacate the order.
While it is certainly possible for a restraining order to be dismissed, the process for doing so is very difficult, with stringent requirements for either party requesting the dismissal.
In order for the defendant to dismiss an existing restraining order, they will need to provide the court with a transcript of the original FRO hearing, and also demonstrate that the following two factors are true:
- There exists good cause for the order to be dismissed
- The circumstances between the two parties have changed significantly, in a manner which suggest the restraining order is no longer necessary
In order for the plaintiff to dismiss a FRO which they originally requested, they will first need to speak with a court official who will assess whether or not the request for dismissal is voluntary or a product of coercion, whether the plaintiff fully understands the consequences of the removal of the restraining order, and finally assess the victim’s understanding that the domestic violence cycle often leads to feelings of guilt and responsibility for the abuse suffered. If the court representative believes everything to be in order, the plaintiff will sign a “Certification to Dissolve a Restraining Order”, and finally speak with a judge regarding their request to vacate the order.
Contact Our Final Restraining Order Attorneys Today
At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients through the difficult yet critical process of Final Restraining Order hearings across Randolph, Madison, Florham Park, Hanover, Morristown, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey.
By practicing exclusively family law, our firm can focus on the issues most important to you and your family, and providing you with the informed, knowledgeable, and effective legal service that you need and deserve in such matters.
To speak with our family law team in a comprehensive and confidential consultation regarding your Final Restraining Order hearing, and your options for securing legal representation, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.