When to File for a Restraining Order

When to File for a Restraining Order

A domestic violence restraining order is a civil court order that, generally speaking, requires one person not to harm, harass, or contact another person. Restraining orders can prevent an abuser from contacting you, ensure they stay a certain distance away from you, and can even get any firearms they own taken away. Getting a restraining order can be a difficult and complicated process, making it important to work with a family law attorney who understands that every second counts when it comes to your safety.

When Should I Get a Restraining Order?

If you or other members of your household are in immediate danger from another person, you should immediately call the police and seek a restraining order as soon as possible. Immediate danger may include threats of violence, physical assault, stalking, sexual harassment, property damage, or endangerment of children. The process of getting a final restraining order occurs in several stages.

Temporary Restraining Order

A temporary restraining order (TRO) will only last for a temporary period of time, which is determined by whether the TRO is ultimately voluntarily dismissed, or, a trial is held, and the Court decides whether to dismiss the TRO or make the TRO final. A TRO is issued when a judge deems you are in immediate danger and gives you protection until a court can hear your case and decide whether to make the TRO final by entering a final restraining order (FRO).

Final Restraining Order

An FRO will only be issued after a trial is held and the Court decides that an act of domestic violence has occurred and an FRO is needed to protect the victim from future acts of domestic violence. The specific details of what is contained in an FRO depend on the evidence presented at trial. In New Jersey, an FRO is permanent, unless the parties agree, or the Court modifies or dissolves and FRO by later application to the Court.

How Do I Get a Restraining Order?

The procedures to obtain a restraining order will vary based on the jurisdiction you live in, but courts generally try to make it simple and accessible. The first step is typically preparing the complaint and filing it with the Court. Then, the complaint will be reviewed by a judge, and you will give testimony to the judge about your complaint and what led to it. You may be given a TRO based on the complaint and your testimony and an initial hearing will be scheduled if the TRO is granted. From there, you must attend the initial hearing and a later trial on another date to receive a final decision on the restraining order and whether an FRO will be entered. The police can assist you with applying for a TRO through an on-call Municipal Court judge if the Superior Court is closed when you want to apply for one.

Speak With a Domestic Violence Attorney About Getting a Restraining Order

If you believe you are in immediate danger, contact local law enforcement immediately. Then, consult with a legal professional from Moskowitz Law Group for assistance navigating the procedures for obtaining your restraining order.


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