Skilled Attorneys Handling Domestic Contretemps in Ocean County, NJ

Distinguish Domestic Contretemps from Domestic Violence with Our Lawyers in Freehold, Howell, Jackson, and Southern NJ

Experienced Attorneys Advising on Domestic Contretemps in Toms River NJThe word contretemps is French in origin.  Contre means “against,” while temps means “time.” A loose definition would be an unfortunate act that happened at a bad or inconvenient time.  Other definitions are conflicts and arguments or conflicts resulting from a misunderstanding. Domestic contretemps classifies disagreements between couples who are getting a divorce or are still married as minor skirmishes.  It differentiates unwanted behaviors as minor annoyances from something more serious, such as domestic violence.

If you require skilled and empathetic legal assistance for matters concerning domestic violence or domestic contretemps in New Jersey, reach out to Bronzino Law Firm, a renowned team of family lawyers handing cases in Toms River, Berkeley, Jackson, Lakewood, Wall, and elsewhere in Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey. Call (732) 812-3102 or complete the online contact form to consult with a New Jersey family law attorney at our Brick or Sea Girt offices.

Recognizing Domestic Contretemps and Domestic Violence in New Jersey

Domestic contretemps are a recognition by the courts that couples disagree and can argue without rising to the point of domestic violence.  It is a fine line, but NJSA 2C:25-19, regarding domestic violence, lists the acts that would require a victim to receive protection from domestic violence.  They include stalking, sexual assault, false imprisonment, criminal sexual contact, criminal mischief, harassment, kidnapping, and criminal coercion. Domestic violence can be a life-threatening situation that should never be ignored, but only the most serious issues should qualify as domestic violence.

Connection Between Domestic Disputes and Divorce Cases

Divorce is far from pleasant and frequently frustrating for all parties involved.  Argumentative phone calls and texts demanding more financial support or parenting time are a matter of course.  Discussions are sometimes heated, but as long as they fall into a reasonable and expected pattern of behavior, they are categorized as domestic contretemps.

Why Is E.D. v P.D. Important in Instances of Domestic Contretemps?

In E.D v P.D, this case was heard in Somerset County Family Court by Judge Coleman.  The evidence showed that the husband, P.D., had called his wife, E.D., on numerous occasions, three days running, to ask if the payments for their children’s extracurricular activities had been handled.  When she responded that she had not paid the fees yet, he excoriated what he perceived was her lack of responsibility toward the children.  He treated her in a hostile, aggressive manner, refusing to communicate with her through emails exclusively, as she had previously asked him.

Furthermore, it was discovered that P.D. yelled at E.D. as she stood outside her yoga studio and yelled,” Get your ass home and take of your kids.”  P.D. made additional calls lambasting E.D. for getting behind with household bills and, in one conversation, said,” Get it done, bitch.”  In two other instances, when their cars passed each other, P.D. slowed down specifically to show E.D. his middle finger.

Judge Coleman determined that P.D.’s actions were classified as harassment and, therefore, entered a final restraining order.  P.D. appealed the decision in the Appellate Division, where the court held that his conduct did not fall under the standard of harassment, and the restraining order was lifted forthwith.  Though unpleasant, the court added that ugly she-said-he-said arguments do not constitute harassment.

Court Criteria for Evaluating Domestic Contretempts and Regular Disputes in a Domestic Setting

Sometimes, they don’t.  There are many cases where a restraining order was granted, then appealed, and the appeal was granted.  It is a very fine line; if a mistake is made, it could harm the plaintiff.  There is an unspoken pattern, it seems, of erring on the side of caution rather than misinterpreting simple squabbles for what they are.

An excellent example of this can be found in J.A.C. v. C.A.C., a divorced couple with two children. The family lived in California until their split when J.A.C. moved with the children to New Jersey.  The parenting agreement scheduled the children to visit their father in California.

While their 9-year-old son was in California with his father, at 10:00 PM EST, the exes exchanged text messages.  J.A.C. requested that C.A.C. not send any more texts after 11:00 PM EST.  C.A.C. ignored her request, but J.A.C. didn’t read them until nearly noon the next day.

J.A.C. submitted a request for a restraining order because her ex was sending her copious amounts of text messages beyond a reasonable hour.  She also accused him of threatening to make her lose her job by calling her employer.  She said she was terrified of her ex.

The court granted her request, stating that C.A.C. harassed J.A.C. by his continued messaging after she had requested him not to text her after 11:00 PM, saying that their discussion was not about their son but an argument between the two parties.

The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision again in this instance, saying that J.A.C. did not see the messages until almost noon the next day.  Also, she had no evidence as to what the messages said as she hadn’t saved them.  Therefore, there was no way for the court to determine if C.A.C. had harassed his ex-wife or not. Moreover, as C.A.C. resided across the country, in California, it was unlikely that they would have any physical contact other than the child exchange.

Explore Domestic Contretemps Cases in Monmouth County, NJPossible Alternatives Available in Cases Involving Contretemps in NJ

As we have seen, judges frequently confuse domestic violence with domestic contretemps.  Potentially, an accusation could find you out of your home, away from your children, unable to visit them, and maybe unemployed, depending upon the circumstances.  Family and friends may take sides, leaving you in a very lonely place.

In terms of solutions, if at all possible, invite your ex to counseling.  Bettering communication between you is a win-win for you and your children.  If that won’t work, create an agreement you both can work on regarding how and when you communicate with one another.

Finally, if you can’t agree to disagree and things get nasty sometimes, keep any evidence you can to prove that domestic violence did or did not occur.  Text messages, emails, or other correspondence you send or receive can verify your situation.

Call an Experienced Point Pleasant, NJ Attorney to Assist with Domestic Contretemps Today

You should never enter a domestic violence dispute without representation.  Being falsely accused of domestic violence can severely alter the course of your life. Our lawyers at the Bronzino law Firm are compassionate and understand the stress and anxiety this causes you. We can gather evidence, contact and interview witnesses, and advocate for you in Berkeley, Point Pleasant, Sea Bright, Barnegat, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Rumson, and other communities in Monmouth and Ocean County.  Domestic Contretemps and domestic violence are sometimes confused by the courts in an effort to protect the victim, but those decisions may not fit the actions taken.  Our attorneys are skilled litigators and will build a case for you to give you the best possible outcome.

Contact us today at (732) 812-3102 or online.  We are the solution to your legal troubles.