Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of being a victim of domestic violence, the first step is to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) either through the police or from the Family Court. A Court date will be set within the TRO soon thereafter at which time a judge will determine if a Final Restraining Order (FRO) should be entered. These trials sometimes take weeks to conclude, although most are resolved either with dismissal or a shorter trial. If appropriate, the parties with the assistance of counsel can negotiate dismissal of a TRO and entry of a Consent Order for Civil Restraints. This does not have the protections of a TRO or an FRO: if there is a violation, the police will simply say to contact counsel and seek enforcement in the Family Court. The consequences of having an FRO entered against you are significant, so a trial will be necessary if it isn’t possible to negotiate a Consent Order for Civil Restraints. Ms. Copeland helped to work on the first New Jersey Law Against Domestic Violence, was legal counsel for many years to the Somerset Resource Center which shelters and counsels victims of domestic violence and their families, including services to abusers. She has lectured on this topic to Family Court judges and for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.