How to File a Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Order (TRO) during COVID-19 in 5 Steps
Considered Getting a Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Order (TRO) during COVID-19? You’re Actually 5 Steps Closer Than You Think
Have you or someone you know been living near your abuser, possibly afraid or unable to safely seek help or go forward with the legal protection process? Are you worried about child custody if you file a domestic abuse claim? As more shelter-in-place restrictions begin to lift, many Domestic Violence advocates expect an influx of temporary restraining orders and divorce filings.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, safety for yourself and your children should be your priority. Above all else, know that there is help available. New Jersey has a 24 hour/7 days a week statewide Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-572-7233) that provides confidential access to information, crisis intervention, referral, and advocacy. Also, in every county in the State of New Jersey, there is an agency that will offer you help and counseling services either free or on a sliding scale and provide police resources. If you are unable to speak safely, go online to thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing may use TTY (1-800-787-3224), for Deaf advocates who are available 24/7 by video phone through the National Deaf Hotline at (1-855-812-1001), Instant Messenger (DeafHotline) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in NJ during COVID 19 in 5 Steps
Your safety is important. The current “stay-at-home” order has closed NJ courts. However, fortunately, exceptions have been made so a Judge can still hear urgent matters relating to domestic violence to ensure survivor safety. The first step in seeking protection is to file for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), which can be relatively easily obtained to help you get the protection you need.
Make sure your voice is heard. To file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO):
- Submit your domestic violence case with your local police department, and apply for a TRO. If you do not file your TRO through the police department, your case may take longer to be scheduled and may not be heard in person.
- When you file your TRO paperwork with the police, explain your circumstances’ urgent nature and the harm or danger that might likely result if your case is not heard immediately. This should help ensure your case receives immediate attention and is heard by the Courts. To qualify for a temporary restraining order, the abuser must have done something that meets the definition of at least one of the following crimes set forth is the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (J.S.A 2C:33 et al.): harassment, assault, terroristic threats, criminal mischief, kidnapping, burglary, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, false imprisonment, criminal restraint, criminal trespass, lewdness, stalking, homicide, robbery, criminal coercion, cyber-harassment, violation of a restraining order, or any crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury. Also, the person you file a restraining order against must be at least 18 years old.
- The police will then phone a municipal court judge, who hears the request and case details and can grant you a TRO.
- If a TRO is granted, the police will serve the accused with the order, during which time the accused will be informed of the final hearing date; which will be within 10 days after the TRO is issued. In light of COVID-19, your actual court hearing could very likely be remote (over the phone or using video conferencing software (i.e., Zoom and Microsoft Teams), and within 10 days after the TRO is issued.
- Contact an experienced domestic violence attorney who can advise you about the type of evidence necessary (i.e., social media posts, text or voice messages, pictures, videos, etc.) to prove your case and make the TRO permanent or a Final Restraining Order (FRO).
Contact Our Wayne County, NJ Domestic Abuse Attorneys For a Free Consultation
The family law attorneys at The Montanari Law Group have decades of experience working with clients seeking protection from domestic abuse in Clifton, Wayne, Little Falls, Patterson, West Milford, Woodland Park, and all over Passaic County.
Because the court holds the child’s safety and wellbeing at the center of all domestic violence and child custody cases, a judge will order what they deem necessary to ensure the child’s safety until final custody is determined.
Our unique approach supports our clients in facilitating the legal process in the child custody agreement and any domestic abuse charges so that they can focus on safely and steadily building their new life.