Somerville Office

Effects of a New Jersey Restraining Order on Child Custody

Domestic violence is a problem throughout the United States. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million women and men are victims of intimate partner abuse every year. New Jersey is not immune. Almost 36% of women and more than 27% of men experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Additionally concerning is the number of children impacted by abuse at home. Of the more than 32,000 domestic violence filings in New Jersey in 2017, nearly 38% of the complainants had children.

At Lane & Lane, LLC, we have experience in helping clients obtain restraining orders against abusive partners. Our team can also fight for the rights of those who have been falsely accused of abusive behavior.

A restraining order, also called a protective order, can impact child custody/support and spousal support in New Jersey.

Temporary vs. Final Restraining Orders

People who are or were married, living together, dating, or who have a child together, can qualify to petition for a domestic violence restraining order.

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is in effect until a court hearing can be scheduled for a judge to talk with both parties. The restraining order hearing is typically within 10 days of the TRO. Emergency relief can include forbidding the defendant from possessing any firearm or weapon.

A hearing can be scheduled even if the TRO is not granted. The judge will determine whether to grant a final restraining order (FRO) after hearing from both sides. The TRO is in effect permanently unless the judge grants the victim’s request to vacate the order.

A FRO has two components. Injunctive relief directs the defendant’s actions, telling them what they can and cannot do. Non-injunctive relief imposes financial penalties and obligations.

A final restraining order tells the defendant the following:

  • Whom the defendant cannot contact
  • Where the defendant cannot go
  • Money that the defendant owes
  • Child support that is due
  • Any other actions that the defendant is not allowed to take

The FRO also includes a warrant for law enforcement to search and seize all weapons for safekeeping.

The court can also order the abuser to pay the following:

  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Health Insurance
  • Medical Treatment
  • Moving Expenses
  • Counseling Costs for the Victim
  • Reasonable attorney and court costs
  • Compensation for pain and suffering

Non-injunctive relief permits the victim to afford living expenses without the need to return to an abusive relationship.

Custody Awards in a Restraining Order

If you are granted a final restraining order against a partner, the court will grant you custody of your minor children in most situations. Custody of pets is also given to the non-abusive party. The abuser may be granted visitation with their children under certain conditions.

Even supervised visitation will be suspended if the judge believes that the child’s well-being would be compromised by any interaction with the other parent.

The judge can also grant temporary possession of personal property. In both a TRO and FRO, the judge can award sole possession of the home, even if the defendant owns it. Law enforcement will provide protection to gather belongings if the victim chooses to move out of the home.

Anyone falsely accused of abuse must vigorously fight the restraining order at the hearing. If the FRO is granted, you can expect to lose custody of your children, have extensive financial ramifications, and impact other areas of your life.

Protect Yourself and Your Family with a Restraining Order

Domestic violence affects all races, genders, and socioeconomic levels. Taking steps to combat an abusive relationship is difficult. Seeking legal guidance for filing a restraining order can be a proactive step in gaining back a life without fear and abuse.

At Lane & Lane, LLC, we are a family-run law firm. Supporting the health of other families is important to us. That passion coupled with our extensive legal knowledge can help you reclaim your life and protect your children.

Contact our trusted attorneys to learn how we can put our experience to work for you. Submit our online form or call us at (908) 259-6673.

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline is 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233).