Love Affairs and Domestic Violence Claims

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Many question the morality of outside love affairs during marriage.  They argue that committed relationships call for fidelity.  Others claim that a little adventure and discreet fun is acceptable.  However, what happens when one of the parties wishes to put an end to a torrid relationship?  Is there any correlation between love affairs and domestic violence claims?

A Recent Case History

In their unpublished opinion, 20-2-6628 L.S. v. J.P., App. Div. (per curiam), the New Jersey Appellate Division recently decided a case involving two lovers, both married to other people.  The woman claimed that when she attempted to end the affair, her former lover continued to pursue her.  She characterized his behavior as harassment.  The trial judge found this to be the predicate act under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and signed a restraining order.

The facts of this case begin with an affair that lasted an entire year.  Contact was frequent with the exchange of over 31,000 text messages.  It was not uncommon for the couple to break up and get back together again.  Ultimately, the participants’ spouses learned of their affair.  The woman’s son became aware of his mother’s infidelity.  Perhaps this was the reason for the female lover’s change of heart.  She ended the relationship.  When her jilted lover continued to contact her, the woman sought and secured a restraining order.  However, the Appellate Division questioned the decision of the lower court.  Why?

Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

New Jersey has a very strong policy concerning the prevention of domestic violence.  In some instances, it is necessary for the court to protect a victim by issuing a restraining order.  In the L.S. v. J.P. case, the Appellate Division noted that the trial judge did not find on the credibility of the parties.  In addition, the lower court’s ruling did not speak to the male lover’s intention to harass or bother the alleged victim. The restraining order was lifted and the case remanded to the trial court.  There were insufficient findings concerning the defendant’s intent.  Restraining orders require:

  • First, it is important to establish credibility.  In the foregoing case, the two lovers fought and reconciled.  What made this break up different from prior ones?
  • What were the circumstances of the domestic violence?  Was it one event or more?
  • Was it the male lover’s intent to harass?  Alternatively, was his behavior consistent with past attempts to resume the affair?  Intent is a necessary proof.
  • Has there been some type of domestic violence in the past?
  • Are there safety concerns?

Legal Advice Regarding Domestic Violence

Obviously, acts of domestic violence are not limited to breaking off extramarital affairs. They are often a component of divorce matters.  Take a look at the publication authored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation on domestic violence.  If you are the victim of domestic violence or accused of it, you need legal advice.  Call Sam Stoia to understand your rights.  Sam has extensive experience trying domestic violence matters with great success. All initial consultations are free.