The latest newsletter from Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ) highlights what victims of domestic violence need to know about obtaining temporary and final restraining orders protecting them from further unwanted interaction with the abusers.
The bilingual publication, “Looking Out For Your Legal Rights,” is accessible online at www.lsnjlaw.org.
The newsletter also contains a section with the latest information on landlord-tenant evictions during COVID-19.
Initially, domestic violence victims can seek temporary restraining orders as protection against any contact, including phone calls, text messages or email, from their abusers who allegedly violated any of numerous criminal acts listed in the newsletter. Ultimately, that can be turned into a final restraining order by a judge.
In addition to the details in the newsletter, further information about domestic violence restraining orders or domestic violence in general can be obtained by visiting www.lsnjlaw.org, or by contacting the LSNJLAWSM toll-free-legal hotline at 1-888-576-5529, www.lsnjlawhotline.org.
A temporary restraining order may be obtained at any hour from the police department where the victim or abuser live or the alleged crime occurred. It also is available on the same basis from the applicable county superior court during business hours.
If the temporary restraint is granted, the applicant could for the time have physical custody of any children involved in the relationship, possession of the home, possession of an involved vehicle even if not the owner, possession of any important documents, and cash or other emergency support, such as mortgage and household bill payments.
The newsletter article provides advice on how to prepare and what to expect at temporary and final restraining order hearings, and, if need be, how to request an adjournment to a later date.
It also notes that whenever a domestic violence complaint that involves children becomes public, the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) usually gets involved. However, simply being a domestic violence victim is not a reason for the division to remove the children from the victim’s care. That’s because in New Jersey there is a “presumption” that custody with the non-abused parent is in the best interests of the children. At the same time, the article notes that division case workers can be very helpful in finding domestic violence services for victims, as well as helping create what are known as safety plans.
Meanwhile, according to the latest available information, the COVID-19-triggered state moratorium on tenants being evicted from their homes because of failing to pay rent will be in force until the end of December and more likely into 2021. There also is a similar federal moratorium that runs through Dec. 31. Tenants can find more information about both moratoriums at www.lsnjlaw.org.