The Law Offices of Veronica R. Norgaard, LLC understands the intricacies of the New Jersey Family Court.
Founding attorney Veronica R. Norgaard began her career as a judicial law clerk in the Family Division and has been extensively trained in this area. Ms. Norgaard combines that expertise with her zealous advocacy to achieve our clients' goals.
If a client is accused of domestic violence, he or she needs an attorney who can vigorously advocate on their behalf. Likewise, victims of domestic violence need an attorney to ensure personal protection to the fullest extent of the law. The law firm represents persons accused of domestic violence, as well as victims of domestic violence.
Whether a client is a victim of domestic violence or has been accused of domestic violence, that client needs an attorney who understands the special rules of the quasi-criminal court. Domestic violence law stems from "The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991" codified at N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq. The New Jersey Domestic Violence Act provides for two forms of relief to a victim of domestic violence: (1) Civil relief, which is in the form of a restraining order, and (2) criminal relief, which allows a victim to file criminal complaints against the alleged offender.
What Exactly Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence occurs when of one or more of the following criminal offenses is committed upon a victim (a person protected under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act):
Criminal sexual contact
How Does a New Jersey Domestic Violence Case Usually Begin?
The typical New Jersey domestic violence case begins either when the police are called to the scene of a domestic dispute, or when a victim seeks a Temporary Restraining Order. If the police are called to the scene of a domestic dispute, the alleged offender will usually be arrested and the Municipal Court will enter a Temporary Restraining Order. If there are acts of domestic violence (but the police are not called) the victim can go to the Superior Court of his or her County and meet with the Domestic Violence Division of the Family Court.
Although a Municipal Court or a Superior Court may issue a temporary Restraining Order, only a Superior Court can grant a Final Restraining Order. Within 10 days after a Temporary Restraining Order has been entered the Superior Court must have a hearing to decide whether to grant a Final Restraining Order. A final restraining order never expires. It is permanent and can only be vacated by filing a motion with the Superior Court.
Who Can Get a Temporary or Final Restraining Order?
Only a victim of domestic violence can obtain a Temporary or Final Restraining Order. A victim of domestic violence is a person protected by the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act and includes any person who (1) is 18 years of age or older, or who is an emancipated minor, and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, any other person who is a present or former household member, OR (2) a person who regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a child in common, or with whom the victim has had a dating relationship, OR;(3) a person who regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
A victim may be under the age of 18. A domestic violence offender must be over the age of 18 or emancipated at the time of the offense. An unemancipated minor who commits an act of domestic violence may not be prosecuted as a domestic violence defendant but can be prosecuted under the juvenile delinquency laws.
What Can Happen if the Final Restraining Order Is Violated?
The New Jersey Domestic Violence Act provides both Civil and Criminal penalties for violation of a Final Restraining Order, which can result in "civil contempt" or "criminal contempt". Moreover, if a defendant violates portions of a restraining order pertaining to monetary compensation, visitation, rent or mortgage payments, temporary possession of specified personal property, or counseling, a victim may file a motion for Enforcement of Litigant's Rights. In these types of motions, the Superior Court may order the defendant to pay the victim's attorney fees and related legal costs.
Criminally, when a defendant "purposely or knowingly violates any provision" of an order entered under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a defendant may be charged with criminal contempt of an existing order. This can result in a violation of probation where the defendant has been found or has pled guilty to criminal charges and has been placed on probation, or of criminal contempt and has been placed on probation. Importantly, there is a thirty-day mandatory term of incarceration for a second conviction for non-indictable contempt.
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For more information, contact online The Law Offices of Veronica R. Norgaard, LLC in New Brunswick, New Jersey, or by calling 732-226-7619 today.