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Final Restraining Order Hearing
New Brunswick Final Restraining Order Hearing Lawyer
If a temporary restraining order was signed against you in Woodbridge, Sayreville, Old Bridge or elsewhere in Middlesex County, a hearing must be conducted to decide whether the restraints shall become permanent. This proceeding is commonly referred to as a Final Restraining Order Hearing. This proceeding is held at the Superior Court, Family Division, on New Street in New Brunswick. The stakes at a final restraining order hearing are extremely high since the defendant will be permanently barred from a relationship with the complainant altogether. If the hearing is lost, the parties cannot reside together, communicate with one another or have any meaningful relationship whatsoever. If a temporary restraining order was signed against you, it is therefore in your best interests to make sure you present your best case at the Final Restraining Order Hearing. A good lawyer at your side can be invaluable in this regard. Our attorneys have considerable experience handle restraining order hearings, as well as underlying criminal offenses. Give our New Brunswick Office a call for a free initial consultation before you make a misstep. We can be reached 24/7 at 732-246-7126.
What Happens at a Final Restraining Order Hearing?
The following are some of the more important aspects of a final restraining order hearing that you should know.
Burden Of Proof. At the final hearing, the plaintiff must prove the allegations contained in the complaint by a preponderance of the evidence. It is the victim that has the burden of proof.
Admissibility of Testimony in Criminal Proceeding. In the event there exists a separate criminal complaint arising out of the same incident relating to the domestic violence, testimony given by either party at the domestic violence final hearing won’t be used in the criminal proceeding against the defendant.
Sequence of Evidence. As is usually the case in a litigated court proceeding, the plaintiff puts in his or her case first. At the end of plaintiff’s case it may be subject to a motion to dismiss for failure to support the relief requested. However, given the liberal construction of the Domestic Violence Act, motions of this nature are rarely granted other than in the clearest of defective cases.
Defending The Case Against You. The defendant’s case usually consists of trying to impeach plaintiff’s credibility through cross-examination, denying the allegations altogether or demonstrating that the incident complained of either did not occur in the manner contended by plaintiff or were committed in self defense. Since incidents of domestic violence most commonly occur in private, outside the presence of competent third party witnesses, the credibility and demeanor of the parties is most critical.
Ruling of the Court. After hearing the testimony and considering the evidence, the court shall consider, but is not limited to the following factors:
- The previous history of domestic violence between the parties, including threats, harassment and physical abuse;
- The existence of immediate danger to person or property;
- The financial circumstances of the parties;
- The best interests of the victim and any child;
- In determining custody and visitation the protection of the victim’s safety; and
- The existence of a verifiable order of protection from another jurisdiction.
After the hearing, the court can either find in plaintiff’s favor or dismiss the complaint based on a failure of proofs. If the complaint is dismissed, the case is over (of course, subject to plaintiff’s right of appeal), and all prior TROs (temporary restraining orders) are vacated. If the court finds that an act of domestic violence was committed, then it has broad discretion to enter a final restraining order (“FRO”) granting all or any of the following remedial relief: (1) restraining the defendant from subjecting the victim to domestic violence; (2) granting the victim the exclusive possession of the residence or household, regardless of how the residence or household is titled or leased; (3) granting the victim temporary custody of any minor children. The court shall presume that the best interests of the children are served by an award of custody to the non-abusive parent; (4) awarding visitation, supervised or unsupervised, that considers the safety and well-being of the plaintiff and minor children; (5) suspending visitation pending a risk assessment of the defendant to be performed by an appropriate agency; (6) requiring payment by the defendant of compensatory and punitive damages for losses suffered as a direct result of the domestic violence; (7) payment by the defendant of appropriate temporary support, including making rent or mortgage payments on the residence occupied by the victim if it is determined that the defendant has a duty to support the victim or other household members, provided that this issue has not been resolved or is not being litigated between the parties in another action; (8) compelling the defendant to receive professional domestic violence counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court; (9) enjoining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim or of other family or household members of the victim and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and frequented regularly by the victim or other family or household members; (10) enjoining the defendant from making any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the victim or other family members, or their employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim; (11) granting either party the temporary possession of specified personal property, such as an automobile, checkbook, documentation of health insurance, an identification document, a key, and other personal effects; (12) enjoining the defendant from possessing any firearm or other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1 and ordering the search for and seizure of any such weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located; (13) an order prohibiting the defendant from stalking or following, or threatening to harm, stalk, or follow the victim or any other person named in the order; (14) requiring the defendant to undergo a psychiatric evaluation; and (15) virtually any other relief requested and consistent with the emergent remedial nature of the Act.
Middlesex County Final Restraining Order Hearing Defense Attorneys
Our Middlesex County Final Restraining Order Hearing Defense Attorneys are highly experienced advocates that can provide you with every chance of averting permanent entry of the restraints. We have been handling cases involving all sorts of allegations of domestic violence. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been confronted with just about any factual and legal scenario you could imagine so that are few things that have the capability of derailing their defense. An attorney on our team is ready to serve you irrespective of where your restraining order was entered including Edison, Milltown, New Brunswick and South Brunswick. To speak to a member of our defense team immediately, call our office at 732-246-7126.