How to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order in New Jersey

How to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order in New Jersey

As in many states, New Jersey makes it possible for those who are victims of domestic violence or abuse to seek protections from their abusers. Typically, this is done by obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), which forces the abuser to give up firearms, distance themselves, and cease contacting the victim. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to restrain someone from coming into contact with you, a TRO may be the answer. Let’s look at how to obtain to obtain a TRO in NJ, as well as some questions that go along with the process.

What’s the TRO Process in New Jersey?

The TRO process in New Jersey involves several key steps:

  1. Filing for a TRO either at the County Superior Court or at the local police department.
  2. Preparation for a hearing where evidence of domestic violence will be presented.
  3. Assessment of the evidence by a Family Court judge or a municipal court judge.
  4. Granting or denial of the TRO based on the judge's evaluation of the case.

Who Can You Get a Restraining Order Against in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, a restraining order can be obtained against individuals with whom the victim has a qualifying relationship, such as:

  1. Spouse or former spouse.
  2. Dating or intimate partner.
  3. Co-parent of a child.
  4. Current or former household member.

How Does VASPA Come Into Play?

New Jersey's domestic violence laws underwent a significant transformation with the enactment of the Victim’s Assistance and Survivor Protection Act (VASPA) on July 24, 2023. Prior to VASPA, victims of stalking and cyber harassment faced limited legal recourse in New Jersey. The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) of 1991 and the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA) of 2015 provided protections primarily to victims within specific domestic relationships or those who were victims of sexual crimes.

With VASPA in effect, victims of stalking and cyber harassment can now seek a TRO to prohibit the perpetrator from contacting or coming near them. Under VASPA, victims can file for a TRO ex parte (unilaterally) from the Family Divisions of the Superior Court where they reside, where the alleged offender resides, or where the offenses occurred. The burden of proof for establishing the predicate acts of stalking or cyber harassment is lowered, making it easier for victims to obtain legal protection.

Where to File for a Temporary Restraining Order

In New Jersey, you can file for a Temporary Restraining Order a few ways:

  1. File at the courthouse during business owners. At the Family Division Office of the Superior Court where you or the assailant resides, you can file for a TRO.
  2. Go to the local police station. If the courthouse happens to be closed or if the police station is easier to reach, you can go to obtain a TRO.
  3. Call 911 in the event of an emergency. An emergency operator will be able to contact a judge who can file for an TRO ex parte. Once the courthouse opens the following business day, the TRO ex parte will expire, and you must file for another one.

Filling Out a TRO Form

To fill out a TRO form completely, you will various information. A staff member from the police station or Family Division Office may be able to assist, but do keep in mind that they cannot provide you with any legal advice.

In order to complete the TRO form, you will need to know the following (for yourself and the assailant):

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Contact number
  • Work number
  • Gender
  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Race
  • Distinguishing features, such as tattoos or scars
  • Car description
  • License plate number
  • Drug use history
  • Gun ownership history
  • Domestic violence history

If you would also like for your children to be included in the TRO, you will need to provide information about them, as well.

Do You Need to Get a Lawyer to Obtain a TRO?

Obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in New Jersey does not require the involvement of a lawyer. However, seeking legal representation can be highly beneficial for individuals navigating the complex legal process associated with obtaining a TRO. A lawyer who takes on domestic violence cases can provide invaluable insight and guidance throughout the TRO process. Not only will a lawyer understand the nuances of New Jersey’s laws, but they can also ensure that all requirements are meant when filing for the TRO.

Furthermore, if you seek to take a Temporary Restraining Order and make it permanent, it helps to have a lawyer assisting with the court system. The legal process for obtaining a TRO involves filing paperwork, attending hearings, and presenting the case before a judge. A lawyer can navigate the court system on behalf of the victim, ensuring that all necessary steps are followed and deadlines are met.

Additionally, if a TRO application progresses to a hearing, a lawyer can prepare the victim for the proceedings, including providing guidance on what to expect, coaching on presenting testimony, and representing them during the hearing.

Contact a Domestic Violence Lawyer in New Jersey Today

By understanding the TRO process, knowing who can seek a restraining order, and seeking legal assistance when needed, victims can take proactive steps to ensure their safety and well-being. If you or someone you know is in need of legal assistance regarding domestic violence matters in New Jersey, it is important to contact a lawyer who comprehends these matters. Ziegler Law Group, LLC, has a long history of assisting domestic violence victims. We offer compassionate assistance and can help you get the justice and peace you deserve.

Schedule your free consultation with Ziegler Law Group, LLC, today by calling 973-533-1100 or by filling out the online form.

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