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'When can a restraining order be issued?

New Jersey residents who are experiencing domestic violence may ask for legal protection from their abuser. Restraining orders are used to legally accomplish that. There are two forms: a temporary and final restraining order. The conditions vary and differ according to individual circumstances.

The restraining order prevents contact by the abuser. Individuals who are 18 or a minor who is emancipated may ask for a restraining order. The defendant must be 18 and is defined as someone with whom the plaintiff had a relationship. This might be a spouse, cohabitant, the parent of their child or someone with whom they resided. These episodes often occur when the victim and the abuser are going through a divorce.

Filing for a restraining order occurs at the Superior Court or at a local police station if the court is closed. A temporary restraining order may be provided by the court if the judge agrees that the individual was abused. The defendant is not made aware of the initial hearing. Police will serve the order on the defendant. A date is chosen for both parties to be in court for a final restraining order.

If a final restraining order is issued, the defendant may be ordered to stay away from where the plaintiff resides or works, refrain from all contact, including electronic, and refrain from having others make contact on their behalf. When the FRO is handed down, the defendant will be fingerprinted and photographed, and a copy will be sent to the plaintiff's municipality. The plaintiff should carry a copy and provide one to schools, day care and work. Serious criminal consequences can result when the abuser fails to abide by the order.

Source: New Jersey courts, "What is a restraining order? ", October 15, 2014

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