Can Someone Contact Their Children During A Domestic Violence Case?
Initially, the answer would probably be no. The judge would give the person one 15-minute trip back to the dwelling, escorted by the police, so they could get some clothes and other things to keep themselves going until the next court date. The court is required to hear domestic violence matters within 10 days, at least for a first appearance, so the person would be in the court very quickly.
At that point, an application could be made to tell the judge that the person was not able to see their children, and they would like the judge to actually modify the restraining order so they could have visitation with their children. The judge would hear their argument, because the party who was the victim may be very opposed to that because if they had been hit or if the other party had said things to them then they would feel reluctant to trust them with the children.
What Would Be The First Step If Someone Filed A Restraining Order Or An Order Of Protection Against You?
The first thing the person should do is make sure they read the restraining order to see what they were restrained from doing. They would certainly be restrained from contacting that person, and there may be others they would not be allowed to contact and places where the person would not be allowed to go. They would not want to be stuck with saying they did not realize they could not do certain things because they had not read the order, because in that case the court would tell them that they should have read the order because they were served it and had been told to read it.
The second thing would be to make sure the person did not violate any of the provisions in the order in any way, shape, or form. I have handled cases where the littlest things resulted in a TRO felony violation. A client wanted to join “LinkedIn” one morning so she sent an email out to everyone on her contacts list, including the person who had the restraining order against her, so they had her arrested for that.
Can Contact Be Made Through Social Media?
The person should not try and contact the other party through third parties. This would really come into play in some cultures where the parents are usually the negotiators. Being in Central Jersey, we have a lot of Indian clients, and it is common for the groom’s father to talk to the bride’s father so they could figure out what would need to be done. This can be really dangerous because it could be considered like going around and using a third party to contact the person with the restraining order and this could get the person a felony charge.
Obviously, the person would need to consult an attorney so they know what the playing field looks like, what the games are and what the rules are. The person should also make sure they know how many different courts they would be proceeding before so that they could attend all their court dates and avoid having a warrant issued because they did not realize they had to go to the Municipal Court as well.
The person should also begin preparing their evidence. A lot of people walk into court and tell the judge they have the text messages, video, or an audio recording on their phone, or they have emails on their computer that they could show on their phone. The judges could try to work with it as best as they could, although quite often it would handicap one of the parties because the record would not be available in case there was an appeal.
The person’s phone could not be put into evidence because people do not want to lose their phones like that, so they would have to make sure they have their evidence together. Anything the person wanted to show or tell the judge about would need to be in some form that could be submitted to the court, which is just one of the most pressing things that would need to be done.
Can A Protection Order Ever Be Lifted Or Changed?
Yes, a motion could be filed in the Superior Court. It would be more easily pursued if the person who has the restraining order filed the domestic violence restraining order. If the person who was seeking the lifting of the restraining order was also the person filing the motion, then it would be a much more difficult situation, and that would be under a case called Carfagno v. Carfagno, which is 288 N.J. Super. 424.
They would go through 11 factors to decide this. The first would be the consent of the victim to lift the order, because if the victim did not want the order lifted, then it would probably not happen. The second thing to consider would be the victim’s fear of the defendant, because if the victim still had some good reasons to fear the defendant, then the restraining order would probably not be lifted.
The third thing to consider would be the nature of the relationships between the parties to date and whether there had been some contact, even though it would be rare, but it would show whether they could exercise control over their own emotions or whether it was a relationship where the restrained person used the order to exercise control over the other person. They would then look at whether there had been any convictions for contempt of the order, whether there was any history of alcohol and drug abuse, and what had been done to rectify that.
They would also see whether the restrained person had committed any violent acts, either against the victim or others, whether there had been some sort of domestic violence counseling that was going on, the age and health of the restrained party, the good faith of the victim, whether there was a real reason to seek the order in the first place and other factors which the court deemed relevant. The eleventh factor they would look at would be on the lines of ten plus whatever they wanted it to be.
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