Legal Options to Protect You Against Domestic Violence
Domestic violence involves any type of physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse that occurs with someone you live with, are dating, or with whom you share a child. While it may start small, with occasional angry outbursts, disrespectful behavior, or stinging comments, it can quickly escalate to a potentially life-threatening situation. Our experienced New Jersey family law attorney can help domestic violence sufferers get the protection they need. The following outlines some of the options available.
Obtaining a Restraining Order
Domestic violence consists of any type of abusive behavior that occurs within a relationship. It is often used by perpetrators to exert power or control over a partner. It can consist of acts of physical violence against you, family members, or even pets, as well as threats, harassment, blame, and intimidation tactics. It may involve isolating you in your home, keeping you from access to money or services, and destroying your property. According to the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), all of these actions fall under state criminal laws and can result in the immediate arrest of the person involved.
It is important to realize that when domestic violence occurs in a relationship, the situation almost always gets worse in time. Put downs and threats can quickly escalate to the point of being life threatening. To protect yourself, it is important to take the steps needed to create distance between you and your offender and to take legal action to keep them from contacting you in the future. The NJSP advises that while there are support services for domestic violence victims throughout the state that can prove helpful, a temporary restraining order (TRO) may be your best course of action to protect yourself. Depending on the circumstances, a TRO may be obtained from the Family Court and can prevent the accused from doing the following:
- Returning to your home, school, work, or other locations;
- Contacting you by phone, by U.S. mail, or by email;
- Contacting you through other people, such as friends or family members;
- Possessing firearms or other weapons which could pose a threat.
A TRO can also give you the rights to certain property, such as a home or vehicle, while requiring the offender to pay child and spousal support. If the offender violates the TRO in any way, he or she will be subject to immediate arrest and criminal contempt charges.
Protection in Emergency Situations
If you feel your spouse or significant other poses an immediate threat, you should call the police.
The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice advises that under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Prevention Act, officers must arrest a suspect and sign a complaint against them if a victim of domestic violence has any obvious signs of abuse, such as cuts, scratches, or bruising.
Even if there are no outward signs of injury, police may make an arrest if there are other circumstances that indicate domestic violence has occurred, such as broken furnishings or holes in walls. In this situation, you may be able to obtain a TRO without going to court. The officer will take a statement from you at the scene and can contact a judge to authorize the TRO via telephone, radio dispatch, or other electronic means.
Let Our Middlesex County Family Law Attorney Help You
When domestic violence occurs, there is help available. At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we can guide you through the legal process while taking the steps needed to protect your safety. Contact our Milltown domestic violence attorney today and request a confidential consultation to discuss the options in your situation.