Tag: temporary restraining order
Domestic Violence Victims and Alimony/Spousal Support Brick and Sea Girt NJ Attorneys
If you or someone else has experienced domestic violence at the hands of a spouse or significant other, we will move quickly to protect you.
Until recently, California was the only state that affirmatively enacted legislation disqualifying alimony and spousal payments from domestic violence survivors to their abusers. While some courts either leave marital misconduct to the court’s discretion or prohibit considering evidence related to it, the New Jersey legislature has taken bold steps to prevent survivors from financing their own abuse.
Though normally used for contract law, more legislature and family courts have invoked the doctrine of unconscionability to restrict the enforcement of harsh and unreasonably one-sided agreements or contracts. Today members of New Jersey’s judiciary use this doctrine to deny enforcing divorce settlements that would require survivors of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act to pay alimony and spousal support to their convicted domestic violence abusers because such payments represent a continuation of abuse and control.
If you or someone else has experienced domestic violence at the hands of a spouse or significant other, we will move quickly to protect you. The Prevention of Violence Act was formulated to protect the victims of abuse within domestic relationships. The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC has represented numerous clients in cases involving domestic abuse, and our domestic violence attorneys will guide you through the process of getting a temporary restraining order (TRO). We will accompany you to the domestic violence hearing, which typically occurs within a week of the temporary restraining order’s issuance. We will argue on your behalf to obtain a more permanent order of protection or final restraining order (FRO).
Analyzing Alimony Provisions in NJ Divorce Settlements to Prohibit Payments from Survivors to Abusers
Spousal support or alimony is a challenging and often contentious issue in any divorce. When the obligation is to pay support to a former abusive spouse in a reasonably comparable manner to which they grew accustomed during the marriage, this unreasonable benefit to one party and the absence of meaningful choice can make these payments unconscionable.
Early proposals to change NJ alimony statutes, specifically Assembly Bill A399, regarding the alimony maintenance statute N.J.S.2A:34-23, unfortunately, did not pass. Luckily, under the 2014 amendments to the alimony statute, N.J.S.A.2A:34-23(i), NJ Family Courts have the ability to deny alimony to an abusive spouse because:
“No person convicted of Murder, N.J.S.2C:11-3; Manslaughter, N.J.S.2C:11-4; Criminal Homicide, N.J.S.2C:11-2; Aggravated Assault, under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12- 1; or a substantially similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction, may receive alimony if: (1) the crime results in death or serious bodily injury, as defined in subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:11-1, to a family member of a divorcing party; and (2) the crime was committed after the marriage or civil union. A person convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit murder may not receive alimony from the person who was the intended victim of the attempt or conspiracy. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of the court to deny alimony for other bad acts.”
NJ family court judges are given broad discretion in weighing each factor when making their alimony decision. The latter emphasized the judge can interpret the section to mean that a criminal act of domestic violence should result in a mandatory forfeiture of alimony rights.
With discretion and determined advocacy, an experienced Ocean County alimony attorney is essential when negotiating your alimony settlement or even terminating an existing alimony agreement. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf and help you incorporate this argument into your legal strategy.
Contact a Wall Township, NJ Domestic Violence and Alimony Attorney Today
If you think about settling your alimony issues without legal representation, especially those where domestic abuse is involved, think again. Alimony is required to be paid for several years equal to your marriage duration, so if you were married for ten years, you would most likely be expected to pay alimony for ten years. Such a life-impacting agreement should never be made without an attorney by your side to protect your rights and your financial future.
Attorney Peter J. Bronzino has received countless favorable reviews from past clients; their words speak for themselves. If you are looking for an experienced, knowledgeable, hard-working, and tenacious alimony attorney, look no further. The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC is ready to begin advising you and fighting for your rights today.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our offices today, contact us online or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102. We also handle modifications of existing alimony agreements, as well as enforcement of alimony when your ex is not complying with the agreed-upon terms.
Final Restraining Order Appeals Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
NJ Appellate Division Reversal of a Final Restraining Order (FRO) Reaffirms Legal Guidelines of Who May Obtain Domestic Violence Protective Orders
New Jersey’s strict domestic violence laws and tools like restraining orders were developed to protect the health and safety of the accuser and any potential minor children that may be part of the relationship by preventing the accused from visiting commonplaces of contact such as a home or school and preventing other forms of contact such as telephone calls and emails. These temporary restraining orders (TRO’s) can even prevent the person who was served from contacting other parties, such as friends or family members who may know that person.
Because TROs are not permanent, they can be modified, dismissed, or contested by the opposing party at a final hearing before a Final Restraining Order is issued. This can be beneficial for the accused, as not all domestic violence calls to police are the true result of abuse. It could either be a misunderstanding perceived as harassment or a false accusation.
In the recent case of M.H. v. J.B., two sisters-in-laws each obtained Temporary Restraining Orders against the other, alleging harassment after a series of text messages were exchanged between them. Although a FRO was issued in favor of one party,
the Appellate Division reversed the entry of the FRO because none of the requirements were met:
- a relationship within the meaning of the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”)
- a finding that an act of domestic violence occurred as listed within the PDVA
- A restraining order is necessary to protect the victim “from an immediate danger or prevent further abuse.”
Have you been served with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by a partner or family member? A false accusation must be handled with an experienced criminal defense attorney’s expert support to avoid a variety of potential outcomes. The charge of domestic violence comes with steep costs, including a criminal record, potential time behind bars, and a ruined reputation that can wreak havoc in your personal, educational, and professional life.
While restraining orders are an important tool for protecting victims, they are also commonly abused in difficult family situations. They can seriously jeopardize the parental and legal rights of an unjustly accused individual.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we have extensive experience handling restraining order cases of all kinds. Whether you are the victim of violence and abuse and in need of legal protection, or have been wrongly accused of abuse and need to protect your rights, our firm is ready to provide you with personal, attentive, and effective legal service throughout the restraining order process.
Importance of Appealing or Vacating a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey
In most cases, a Final Restraining Order (FRO) issued under the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) does not expire. Although a victim can later request a dismissal or the defendant can request through the appeal that it be vacated, if neither party takes any action, the FRO could last until either party dies.
If a FRO has been entered either to protect you or against you or if one’s entry is pending, it’s important to understand the consequences. Our recent article “What needs to be proven to obtain a Final Restraining Order (FRO)?” details how important it is to understand what it would take to dismiss or vacate such an order and how having a skilled attorney to protect your rights can make the difference between freedom and limitations to one’s employment, educational, housing, child custody status.
By necessity, domestic violence cases move fast. Whether you are a victim in need of protection or found yourself on the wrong side of domestic violence allegations, you need an attorney who can keep pace. At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC in Ocean County, New Jersey, we take immediate domestic violence and harassment cases.
Consult an Ocean County Restraining Order Lawyer Today
At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, our teams of experienced attorneys are skilled in serving our clients across Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all domestic and criminal law matters.
Whether you are the victim of domestic violence and abuse or you have been wrongly served with a Temporary Restraining Order, our firm is ready to protect your rights and future. Our smaller-sized firm allows us to develop personal and attentive relationships with our clients and provide them with experienced, effective, and tenacious legal counsel.
To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced member of our firm today regarding your case, please visit our online form or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your legal options.
Domestic Violence Appeals Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Though not a common occurrence, errors by judges overseeing Domestic Violence trials do occur, such a mistake recently resulted in an appellate court overturning the Superior Court: Family Part ruling in a domestic violence case.
The importance of having a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can’t be overstated. The minute details that go into the argument of a trial and the expertise required to note the strategies and errors of the opposing party’s attorney and even the court can mean the difference between a trial won and a trial lost – or an opportunity for appeal missed.
Appeal of Final Restraining Order Issuance in NJ
In February 2020, an appeal was submitted contesting a ruling from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County. The Superior Court had issued a Final Restraining Order (FRO) against defendant L.F. in protection of her son, J.F. The FRO was a progression of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that had been in place.
In the Superior Court case, the son, J.F., presented testimony that his mother had followed his wife when she left her house and that his mother had stationed her car outside of their house for many hours at a time on various occasions. This testimony lent itself toward a ruling for the issuance of a FRO.
However, proper court procedure was not followed by the judge. In fact, there were multiple failures by the judge to adhere to procedural justice. For example, the judge did not inform either party of their legal right to cross-examine the opposing party. Cross-examination is considered “the ‘greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth,’” a statement made famous in California v. Green, 399 U.S. 149, 158 (1970). This absence of essential process in itself warranted reversal of the lower court’s ruling and remand of a new Superior Court trial.
Additionally, the court did not ask the defendant if she had any questions for the plaintiff. After the ruling was made, the defendant was asked if she had any questions about the ruling, and she attempted to add evidence and speak to her son’s criminal record:
The Court: Do you have any questions, [L.F.]?
L.F.: I have the letter for my co-worker. I know the decision [to issue a FRO] is made. I can’t do anything. But, who has the criminal record here is him. Not me. After 2014 I —
The Court: The Court has accepted —
L.F.: I never followed his wife.
Given that she had not been allowed to enter this evidence before the ruling was made and speak to her son’s record. Therefore a potential lack of credibility, she was denied due process under New Jersey law. All defendants have the right to exhaust all questions and enter all defense before a ruling is made.
It is often the case that in a Superior Court trial, the judge has some management to do, and therefore may take procedure a bit into their own hands. As the appellate judge noted in Franklin v. Sloskey, “[w]e understand that in a pro se trial a judge often has to focus the testimony and take over the questioning of the parties and witnesses. However, this should be done in an orderly and predictable fashion and not at the expense of the parties’ due process rights.” 385 N.J. Super. 534, 543 (App. Div. 2006)
New Jersey Appellate Court Reverses FRO as a Result of Procedural Errors
As a result of the Superior Court judge’s procedural errors, the New Jersey Appellate Court reversed the FRO and returned to its prior state, a TRO. The Appellate Court remanded the case to the Superior Court level and directed that a different judge carry out the retrial. In this way, the Appellate Court ensured that the defendant had a fair chance at justice, whether the outcome would be different.
The Appeals Courts of New Jersey and the United States are established to ensure that justice has been served at all levels and stages of the trial process. Of course, it is essential to have the support of a quality lawyer working on your behalf. Yet, the Court itself is responsible for ensuring that your legal rights are clarified and carried out, whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff.
Wall Township Restraining Order Appeals Lawyer Help You Navigate the Process and Protect Your Rights
At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys support clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all criminal law matters.
Proof Required for a Final Restraining Order Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Helping clients across the Jersey Shore in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Wall, Sea Girt, and Brick.
The restraining order is a powerful tool used by law enforcement and the courts to ensure those who have suffered from or are at risk of domestic violence or harassment. However, before the courts will grant a final restraining order and extend the protections it provides to at-risk individuals, three concrete proofs need to be determined to ensure that such an order is warranted.
Put simply, these proofs are:
Did an actual act of domestic violence take place?
To determine if an act of domestic violence occurred, the judge will want to know whether the precipitating incident fits the criteria for one or more Crimes of Domestic Violence, as defined by the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. These Crimes include:
- Homicide J.S.A. 2C:11-1
- Assault J.S.A. 2C:12-1
- Terroristic threats J.S.A. 2C:12-3
- Kidnapping J.S.A. 2C:13-1
- Criminal restraint J.S.A. 2C:13-2
- False imprisonment J.S.A. 2C:13-3
- Sexual assault J.S.A. 2C:14-2
- Criminal sexual contact J.S.A. 2C:14-3
- Lewdness J.S.A. 2C:14-4
- Criminal mischief J.S.A. 2C:17-3
- Burglary J.S.A. 2C:18-2
- Criminal trespass J.S.A. 2C:18-3
- Harassment J.S.A. 2C:33-4
- Stalking J.S.A. 2C:12-10
Several types of evidence can be presented to the judge in the final restraining order hearing, including a police report and arrest records, witness testimony, personal testimony from the victim, and other evidence such as photos of injuries/damage, emails, texts, and phone messages as well as other records.
2) Is there a provable history of domestic violence?
Should a judge find that a Crime of domestic violence took place, they will next want to determine if this was an isolated incident or if it is part of a pattern of domestic violence. If there is a history of domestic violence present in a relationship (including prior threats, harassment, and or physical violence), evidence can be presented to the court that documents this, including prior police and hospital records, emails, text messages, photos, journal entries and testimony from those who witnessed the abuse.
3) Is a restraining order necessary in order to safeguard the victim’s safety?
Finally, the necessity of a final restraining order to ensure the victim’s safety in the future will be considered by the court. Important factors taken into account will include the severity and extent of domestic violence that was experienced. The court will also examine what happened after the temporary restraining order (TRO) was enacted. Information such as if the parties named in the TRO still texted, called, or met in person could be critical in the court’s final decision. Any contact, even something as small and seemingly insignificant as you liking a Facebook post of the person named in the TRO, could constitute contact in the eyes of the court.
For a TRO to become a final, permanent restraining order (PRO), the plaintiff must prevail at a final restraining order trial. This means that the plaintiff must prove in court, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a predicate act of domestic violence occurred and that future protection is needed. The preponderance of the evidence standard means showing that “more likely than not” or, commonly described as 51%, that the plaintiff has proven past violence and future danger.
Whether or not a trial is held in an open court or a closed session is completely dependent on the judge’s preference. However, both sides are typically permitted to have persons in court to support them. The judge will often need to confirm that these individuals are not fact witnesses, meaning someone you intend to make a statement to the court regarding a specific issue or event.
Given that a permanent restraining order can have lifelong impacts, the process is intentionally extensive and thorough. For this reason, having effective representation, no matter on which side you may fall on, is absolutely critical. Many people wrongfully think it is a process that they can guide themselves through. However, if you seek protection or feel you have been wrongfully accused, the stakes are far too high to attempt to go at it alone. A skilled and experienced attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Consult a Wall Township Restraining Order Lawyer Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, our teams of experienced attorneys are skilled in serving our clients across Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all domestic and criminal law matters.
Simple Assault, Domestic Violence, and Restraining Order Lawyer Brick NJ
Providing expert counsel regarding Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas
Although simple assault may be one of the most common “misdemeanor” offenses a person can be charged within Ocean or Monmouth County, it is a very serious criminal charge in New Jersey. As a disorderly persons offense, assault charges can arise from minor altercations or as a result of a domestic violence incident. Assault is a violent crime and criminal conviction can significantly affect employment or educational opportunities, your reputation, and possibly result in a fine or restraining order, not to mention negatively impact child custody matters in divorce litigation. Unlike many criminal offenses in New Jersey, you can be charged with simple assault even though the assault was unintended, and you can be found guilty even if there was no injury to the other party.
What Constitutes Simple Assault in Jackson, NJ?
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 or “simple assault” can be triggered as the result of purposeful, knowing, reckless or negligent conduct, even if the person was unsuccessful in their attempt to commit the offense and the other party was not injured. The assault may cause temporary pain or discomfort or present a physical threat, and ANY unwanted or offensive physical contact can also be considered assault.
Simple Assault as an Act of Domestic Violence in Wall Township, NJ
If the simple assault is against a current or former spouse, household member, family member, co-parent, or intimate partner it can be considered as “domestic violence.” New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is a means of protecting victims of domestic abuse. To be charged with a domestic violence criminal offense or issued a temporary restraining order in New Jersey, one must be accused of committing one of the 19 predicate acts of domestic violence (e.g., simple assault, harassment, terroristic threats, etc).
As the more common charge used as the grounds for a protective order, a person is guilty of simple assault or N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a) if they:
(1) Attempt to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
(2) Negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(3) Attempt by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Under these conditions in NJ, even an attempt to cause bodily injury and/or threatening behavior that would make someone believe they are in immediate danger of suffering serious harm is considered a simple assault. So when one considers the type of language used to define “simple assault” it’s clear to see how people can face restraining orders with simple assault as the basis.
Though vastly different from aggravated assault, the seriousness of a simple assault charge or subsequent conviction, can nevertheless have devastating consequences on your life. Especially since a domestic violence finding during a criminal background check has the potential to disqualify you from many jobs or educational opportunities.
What is the Punishment for Simple Assault & Domestic Violence in Sea Brick or Girt, NJ?
Simple assault is typically considered a disorderly persons offense.
- Disorderly Persons Offense: maximum sentence of 6 months to be served in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Petty Disorderly Persons Offense: maximum sentence of 30 days to be served in the county jail and a fine of up to $500
Victims of a simple assault or domestic violence can request a temporary restraining order (TRO) and subsequent to that a final restraining order (FRO). Since Family Court related protective orders have a lower burden of proof than criminal courts, a final restraining order issued against you based on a simple assault accusation, will prohibit you from having or using a weapon for the rest of your life and subject to criminal charges for contempt if you violate any of the provisions contained in the FRO.
False Allegations: Simple Assault & Domestic Violence Lawyers in Toms River, NJ
The reasons why a person would make false domestic violence or simple assault allegations may vary greatly (i.e., jealousy, revenge, to gain child custody, more parenting time or a greater share of the property in a divorce settlement). No matter the reason, none are acceptable, fair, just, and are oftentimes illegal.
Be sure to attack this circumstance swiftly and aggressively with an attorney that you can trust. The consequences of a false conviction resulting in a FRO or Final Restraining Order can and will impact you for the rest of your life. As an innocent person, these allegations should not be taken lightly.
Our attorneys assist clients in Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County areas. Visit our online form or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.