What You Might Not Know about Restraining Orders (And, Should!)


You’re confident that the judge will grant you a final restraining order (FRO).   After all, you meet all the qualifications as an ex-husband threatened by his former wife.  A temporary restraining order (TRO) is already in place because the police went to the municipal judge on your behalf.  You’ll be glad to be under the protection of the court.

As it stands, the fact that there is a TRO does say something.  For one, it means, you were subjected to a predicate act of domestic violence as described in NJSA 2C:25-19.  The same statute also defines former spouses as prospective victims of domestic violence eligible for protection.

However, there’s something you should know.  Just because your ex did something to you that constitutes domestic violence does not mean the judge will execute a final restraining order.  The courts are guided by precedential case law that considers other issues.

Final Restraining Orders

More than likely, you’ve already figured out that it’s easier to secure a temporary restraining order than a final one.  If you think you are in need of a restraining order during business hours, an experienced family law attorney can help you obtain one at the county courthouse.  Otherwise, your local judge may be called upon to ensure some protections are in place on a temporary basis.

After the TRO is executed, a hearing will be set in Family Court.  If you are already involved in a divorce case, you may find yourself before the judge assigned to your matter.  Otherwise, another judge will review the reasons you are seeking an FRO.  Although you can go alone to court, it almost always makes sense to bring along legal representation. 

It is not enough to show evidence that your personal relationship to the other party entitles you to protection under domestic violence laws.  Silver v. Silver is considered a seminal case when it comes to granting final restraining orders.   It comes down to two essential elements as follows:

  • There is a proof of an act of domestic violence as outlined in the statute
  • The victim is in imminent danger, and there is potential for further abuse

As you might guess, the latter is often disputed.  Judges are called upon to consider the proofs to determine whether a one-time event calls for a final restraining order.

Contact Us                          

Unfortunately, domestic violence is prevalent in many relationships.  Whether you are a victim or accused of an act of domestic violence, it is critical that you speak with an experienced family law attorney.  At the Law Offices of Sam Stoia, we offer complimentary consultations.  Give us a call to schedule an appointment.