What You Need to Prove to Secure a Restraining Order
You might have some idea of what you need to prove to secure a restraining order. First, there’s the issue of establishing a relationship that constitutes the right to protection under New Jersey Domestic Violence laws. It’s not like the court will issue one against your next door neighbor – unless he or she happens to be your ex. Next, you must show proof that there was a predicate act of domestic violence. Lastly, you must establish why you need protection – that there’s a chance of an act of domestic violence occurring again.
Without question, very few intimate relationships are without a fair share of strife. However, when the disagreements rise to the level of domestic violence, the game plan changes. The courts do recognize that some acts of domestic violence can be lesser offenses than others. And, that they may represent one-time events.
Of course, there are also considerations when asking the court to grant a final restraining order. In some cases, it’s surely a spite move. It could be that your ex suspects you of cheating – and wants to pay you back. Meanwhile, a restraining order can cause problems at work. Also, restraining orders may seriously impact relationships with children.
Each and every day, some court in New Jersey considers whether or not to grant a restraining order. Just yesterday, the New Jersey Appellate Division rendered an unpublished opinion on a matter that was initially decided in Sussex County. The facts of the case may interest you.
Proving Domestic Violence
As is typical in many domestic violence cases, the court has used the initials of the parties in the matter of P.L.G. v. C.K. This is to protect their names from the general public. Meanwhile, there is a notation on the printed case that the opinion shall not “constitute precedent or be binding upon any court.” It applies to the named parties.
P.L.G. and C.K. were married at the time a temporary restraining order was entered on July 2, 2016. By all appearances, they are still legally wed, albeit estranged. The request for a restraining order stemmed from an incident that occurred when the couple was on vacation in Florida.
According to C.K., her husband assaulted after a long day of consuming alcohol. P.L.G. started drinking in the early morning. By dinnertime, P.L.G. was intoxicated – and C.K. admitted that she could no longer take his “drunken behavior,” which seemed to happen on a daily basis.
It would appear that P.L.G. was in denial as far as problems with intoxication. C.K. sat on the couch and used her phone to videotape her husband. The twelve-minute recording was played to the court. However, what was not caught on tape is also significant.
While C.K. went into the kitchen to clean up, P.L.G. physically attacked her. He used his fists, barricaded her in the corner and used physical force to restrain her. Ultimately, C.K. scratched her husband across the face. C.K.’s son witnessed the encounter and actually grabbed P.L.G. in a chokehold so that he would release his mother.
At that point, C.K. asked P.L.G. to leave the premises and began recording him a second time. P.L.G. claimed that C.K. staged the encounter – thinking it would be useful in what appeared to be an imminent divorce. Meanwhile, the police were called to the scene.
Prior Incidences of Domestic Violence
In establishing proofs for the final restraining order (FRO), C.K. indicated that P.L.G.’s actions in Florida mirrored his behavior in New Jersey. In fact, she submitted a past history as follows:
- In December of 2014, P.L.G. came home from work drunk. The couple started to argue, and P.L.G. pushed C.K. into a door. The force was enough that “the doorknob put a hole through a closet door located behind the door.” Parenthetically, P.L.G. had a different version of the same story.
- In November of 2015, an argument ensued over money spent on a snow blower. C.K. admitted that she was so angry that she threw a glass vase at the snow blower and threatened to damage it with a sledgehammer. P.L.G.’s response was to threaten to “put a bullet in her head.” A temporary restraining order went into effect after this incident – but was voluntarily dismissed.
Proving the Need for Protection
The judge took into account the prior acts of domestic violence when determining whether or not a final restraining order was necessary. However, there was more. When the couple returned to New Jersey from their Florida trip, a temporary restraining order was put into effect within a couple of days. Nonetheless, P.L.G. ignored the “no contact” mandate.
Although he denies it, C.K. claimed that P.L.G. called her from jail and left her a voicemail. (C.K. played the voicemail for the court.) Meanwhile, P.L.G. admitted that he drove past C.K.’s home, but said it was while he was on the way to see a client. P.L.G. denied his route was intentional – it was just the most direct.
In the end, the trial court – and the Appellate Division agreed, that a restraining order was necessary. The judge determined that an order of protection was required to stop further incidences of domestic violence as P.L.G. both assaulted and harassed his wife. In fact, it was as simple as C.K. needing an FRO because P.L.G. “just wouldn’t stop.”
Have questions about a restraining order? At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we can provide you with experienced answers. Contact us to see how we can help you during this difficult time in your life.