The names Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen and Chris Brown have all been in the news recently.  Allegations of domestic violence cross all socioeconomic barriers.  The law differs from state to state. 

In New Jersey, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) can be obtained through the Court.  A victim of domestic violence can obtain a TRO by going to the courthouse during the Court’s daytime hours and appearing before a judge.  Another way to obtain a TRO is through the police.  If police are contacted regarding a domestic violence matter, the police can contact a judge to obtain a TRO.  Judges are on call for emergent matters even during the nighttime, on weekends and holidays.

If a victim obtains a TRO, the TRO will have on it the date for a hearing.  The court rules of evidence will apply at the hearing.  At the hearing the victim will take the stand, call any witnesses to testify, and produce any relevant and admissible evidence.  The victim and witnesses will be subject to cross-examination.  The party accused of domestic violence is called the defendant.  The defendant may take the stand, call any witnesses and introduce any relevant and admissible evidence.  The defendant and witnesses will be subject to cross-examination.

The judge will decide if an act of domestic violence has occurred.  If the judge finds that an act of domestic violence did not occur, the TRO will be dismissed.  If the judge finds that an act of domestic violence occurred, the judge will enter a Final Restraining Order (FRO).  A FRO carries significant consequences to the defendant. 

If you are a victim of domestic violence or accused of domestic violence, you may want to contact an experienced matrimonial attorney.  For further questions or comments, call us at (908) 879‑9499.