Civil Restraint Orders in New Jersey

A civil restraint is an alternative to a traditional protective or restraining order. These orders can occur in a divorce or custody and child support action, and it can include restraints from harassment and acts of domestic violence. Oftentimes, civil restraints address additional aspects, such as custody and support issues.

The difference between civil restraints orders in New Jersey and restraining orders is that violating an established civil restraint does not have the same effect as violating a restraining order, which would be a criminal offense. To find out if a civil restraining order is best for your situation, get in touch with a dedicated family attorney today.

How are Civil Restraints Established?

While civil restraints do not require a trial, there must be a filing for either divorce under a divorce docket number or for custody and child support under a non-dissolution docket number. To obtain a civil restraint, one party should dismiss the domestic violence and pursue the civil restraint in either their divorce or custody action. The order for civil restraints would be entered under one of those other two actions.

The process of obtaining a civil restraint occurs in lieu of a final restraining order, meaning that someone cannot simply request that the court gives them a civil restraint. They can ask for certain relief, but a civil restraint typically comes about when there is a domestic violence restraining order already in place. Rather than endure a trial and pursue the restraining order, some may opt to dismiss it and bargain for certain relief in a consent order.

An order for civil restraint is a consent order entered into by the parties. While a civil restraint may require the parties to stay away from each other, it does not have the same repercussions for violation that a restraining order would have.

New Jersey Civil Restraint Terms

Civil restraints can include terms outlining who may remain in the home with the children, and they can bar one party from coming to the home. These orders can also require the parties to have only non-harassing communication, which can include rules stating that they can only communicate via text message or email or that they can only communicate about their children.

If the parents can agree on a parenting schedule, sometimes civil restraints will establish a parenting schedule and support parameters. A basic order for civil restraint without any additional elements would determine who lives in a shared home and the means of communication between the parties. Oftentimes, the parties and their attorneys attempt to negotiate other issues, such as parenting time and spousal or child support to avoid filing a motion with the court afterwards.

It is extremely important to have an attorney when settling the terms of a civil restraint order in New Jersey. The process would start with a family law attorney representing the individual for the restraining order and helping them negotiate the terms. Civil restraints are agreements that are turned into court orders that could be altered during proceedings, but they cannot be entered and changed at will. Depending on how they are written and the type of terms that they entail, they can govern for a long time.

Civil Restraint Violation Consequences

If someone is found to be in violation of a civil restraint, the consequences will depend on the nature of their violation. If a violation rises to the level of domestic violence, the party can file for a restraining order. The act would have to reach domestic violence, rather than merely violating a term of the civil restraint by simply returning to the home or perceived harassing communications, for example.

In other cases, if certain terms regarding money or parenting time are violated, the party can file an enforcement application in civil court asking the court to order enforcement. If it becomes egregious, they can ask the court for sanctions; otherwise, violating a civil restraint is not criminally punishable.

Advantages of Civil Restraint Over a Protective Order in New Jersey

You might opt for a civil restraint instead of a permanent restraining order because a restraining order can affect certain professional licenses and many other aspects of a person’s life. If someone’s professional license were compromised or revoked, they would be unable to work and might have an issue supporting the family.

In your case, it may be wise to seek civil restraint orders in New Jersey instead of a permanent or emergency protective order. To learn more about your options, get in touch with a dedicated family lawyer today and schedule a consultation.

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