Woodbridge Restraining Orders
Woodbridge Restraining Orders: A Guide for Victims
Restraining orders can provide important legal protection for victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault or harassment. This guide covers the key things victims in Woodbridge, NJ need to know about obtaining and enforcing these court orders.
What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a court order that helps protect victims by restricting or prohibiting contact with the perpetrator. These orders aim to prevent further abuse or threats.
There are two main types of restraining orders in New Jersey:
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) – Provides emergency short-term protection, usually for 10 days until a final hearing. Police can arrest the perpetrator for violating the order.
- Final Restraining Order – Issued after a hearing, these provide longer-term protection for a victim. They typically last indefinitely but can be in effect for a fixed time period.
A restraining order provides legal protection against an abuser through court-ordered restrictions.
Who Can Get a Restraining Order?
In New Jersey, you may qualify for a restraining order if:
- You are 18 years or older, OR
- You are an emancipated minor, OR
- You are a victim of domestic violence and have a court-appointed advocate
You can request an order of protection if you are a victim of:
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
Family members of a victim may also request a restraining order in some cases.
Steps to Getting a Restraining Order
Follow these key steps when applying for a restraining order in Woodbridge:
1. Get the Required Court Forms
- Visit the Middlesex County Courthouse to obtain the forms you’ll need to start the application process. Bring ID.
- Forms include the complaint/petition and other affidavits. Staff can assist with questions.
2. Complete the Paperwork
- Fill out all sections of the forms clearly and accurately.
- Outline the facts regarding the abuse, threats details, dates, etc.
- Identify the perpetrator and provide contact details if known.
3. File the Complaint
- Submit completed paperwork to court staff for review.
- A judge reviews the complaint and may approve a Temporary Restraining Order based on the circumstances.
4. Attend the Court Hearing
- If approved, a court hearing date will be set (typically within 10 days).
- The plaintiff/victim MUST attend this hearing for the judge to issue a Final Restraining Order.
What Can a Restraining Order Include?
Restraining orders prohibit the perpetrator from contacting the victim. They can also restrict:
- Calling, texting, messaging the victim
- Visiting the victim’s home, workplace or school
- Damaging victim’s property
- Posting messages/images of the victim online
Orders may also require the perpetrator to temporarily vacate a shared home. In severe cases, surrendering firearms may be mandated as well.
Enforcing Your Restraining Order
While restraining orders can deter abuse, they must be enforced to provide meaningful protection.
- Always keep a copy of the order with you and share copies with family, friends, employer, etc.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if the order is violated. Promptly file violation reports.
- Document all violations with dates, times, witnesses, evidence like screenshots.
- Consider a safety plan like changing locks, security system, emergency contact options.
Promptly report any restraining order violations to the local police.
How a Woodbridge Restraining Order Lawyer Can Help
Consulting with an experienced domestic violence lawyer can help victims understand protections available and navigate the legal process to get a restraining order more smoothly.
A lawyer can:
- Advise if you meet the legal requirements for an order of protection
- Help complete paperwork accurately to improve chances of approval
- Represent you at hearings if the abuser contests the order
- File violation reports to hold perpetrators accountable
- Connect you with other resources like counselors, shelters
Getting a restraining order is an important step, but enforcing it consistently gives victims the safety and peace of mind they deserve.