Final  Restraining Order

Things to consider:

  • Final Restraining Orders in New Jersey are permanent. They do not expire as they do in some other states. The only way for a Restraining Order to be vacated is for a victim to voluntarily ask the Court to lift the order or upon a formal application filed by the Defendant in the Family Court. In many instances, the matter will be referred to a hearing for a final determination.

  • A Defendant will be required to turn over any Firearms Identification Card and forfeit the right to possess any and all firearms. You will also be precluded from owning any more arms in the future. This effectively puts an end to hunting or target shooting as a hobby. You may have to get rid of weapons that were inherited and have sentimental value.

  • You may find yourself losing your home. If parties share a residence, and even if the Defendant is on the deed or title to the property, he or she may be precluded from ever returning to the home that they own. The courts generally grant permission for a Defendant to return (in the presence of a law enforcement officer) for a few minutes to gather some items, but the reality is that he or she may be precluded from ever returning to their home.

  • Your custody rights may be impacted. If the parties share children, the Court may order a risk assessment on the Defendant, prior to making any determination as to the appropriateness of parenting time. During a risk assessment, you will be interviewed by representatives from the court in order to aid the judge in making a determination as to what custody arrangement is appropriate. Court staff will also interview the victim on their desires for custody.

  • The Court has the power to order the Defendant into various types of counseling. Defendants can be ordered to attend Domestic Violence Counseling, may have to attend anger management counseling and/or submit to drug and alcohol evaluations. Counseling can go on for several weeks or even months and can cause disruption to the Defendant’s daily life.

  • All Defendants who have a Final Restraining Order against them must be included in a Domestic Violence Registry, which is available to all law enforcement and court personnel. The inclusion on the registry has far reaching consequences. For example, a Defendant’s ability to travel may be impacted. There can be questioning at airports when it is determined that a person’s name appeared on a Domestic Violence Registry.

Need to talk to someone?

Need to talk to someone? What comes first? Do I call the court? Am I allowed to respond to the papers I just received from the court? Is there a time limit? Who do I call ?