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Process and Requirements for New Jersey Restraining Order in a Divorce

A New Jersey restraining order is a legal order issued by the court that prohibits one party from engaging in certain behaviors or contacting the other party. In a divorce proceeding, restraining orders are typically issued to protect the safety and well-being of the parties involved. In New Jersey, the process for obtaining a restraining order in a divorce can be complex. However, understanding the requirements and steps involved can help make the process smoother and ensure that your rights are protected.

Requirements for a New Jersey Restraining Order

In order to obtain a restraining order, the party seeking the decree must demonstrate that they have been subjected to domestic violence. Domestic violence includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. This includes individuals who are or have been married, are living together or have lived together, have a child in common, or are in a dating relationship.

Acts of domestic violence are defined and includes:

False imprisonment
Criminal mischief
Sexual assault
Criminal coercion
Terroristic threats
Criminal restraint
Criminal sexual contact
Contempt of a domestic violence order
Criminal trespass
Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury

The individual seeking the restraining order must provide evidence of domestic violence, including:

  • Medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Recordings
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Other Physical evidence

It is important to note that New Jersey courts take domestic violence allegations very seriously, and evidence of even a single act of domestic violence can be sufficient to obtain a restraining order.

Steps for Obtaining a New Jersey Restraining Order

The first step in obtaining a restraining order in New Jersey is to file a complaint with the court or call your local police department. The complaint should include specific details about the present act of domestic violence, including the date, time, and location of the incident. The complaint should list any prior acts of domestic violence.

Once the complaint has been filed, the court will review the complaint and determine whether to issue a temporary restraining order. If the court determines that there is sufficient evidence to issue a temporary restraining order, the order will be served on the defendant. A temporary restraining order is typically issued quickly and remains in effect until a final restraining order hearing can be held. If you fail to list all the present and prior acts of domestic violence at the time of filing the initial complaint, then you should amend your complaint before the final hearing.

A final restraining order hearing will then be scheduled within 10 days of the issuance of the temporary restraining order. At the hearing, the plaintiff will be required to present evidence of domestic violence. The defendant will also have the opportunity to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses. It is important to be prepared for the final restraining order hearing, as it is the plaintiff's burden to prove that domestic violence occurred.

If the court determines that the plaintiff has met the burden of proof, a final restraining order will be issued. The final restraining order will remain in effect for an indefinite period of time, unless the court determines that it should be modified or terminated.

Consequences of a Restraining Order

A restraining order can have serious consequences for both parties involved in a divorce. If a restraining order is issued, the defendant will be prohibited from contacting or communicating with the plaintiff. The defendant may also be required to vacate the marital home. In addition, the defendant may be required to surrender any firearms that they possess.

If the defendant violates the terms of the restraining order, they may be subject to criminal charges and could face fines or imprisonment. Additionally, a restraining order can impact child custody and parenting time arrangements. For example, if a restraining order is issued, the defendant may be prohibited from having any contact with the children or may be required to have supervised parenting time.


Obtaining a New Jersey restraining order in a divorce proceeding can be a complicated and emotional process. However, understanding the requirements and steps involved can help make the process smoother and ensure that your rights are protected. If you are considering obtaining a restraining order in New Jersey, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help protect your rights. In addition, if you have been served with a restraining order, it is important to seek legal advice to formulate the best course of action and to carefully comply with the terms of the order to avoid any further legal consequences. If need representation concerning a New Jersey restraining order, call (201) 845-7400 for a free consultation.

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