Modifying or Terminating a Final Restraining Order

Final Restraining Order Attorneys Morristown NJ

Serving Clients in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Morristown, Madison, Randolph, and Florham Park

Final Restraining Order Attorneys Morristown NJIn New Jersey, Family Courts take a serious look at domestic violence; which is why protecting the plaintiffs is paramount and the consequences for defendants found guilty of having committed domestic violence can often be severe. Once a final restraining order (FRO) is issued in New Jersey, it is permanent and will last a defendant’s lifetime. Domestic violence restraining orders fall under the scope of New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, and violating a restraining order (temporary (TRO) or permanent) could result in an offender’s arrest, criminal contempt charges, and jail time. Under specific conditions, it may be worth considering modifying or terminating a final restraining order.

Are you a plaintiff and feel the domestic violence restraining order is no longer necessary? Or that the earlier circumstances under which the lifetime FRO petition was filed is no longer be necessary or efficient enough for your protection, or even that it may actually be unreasonably burdensome on the defendant?

Has a final restraining order been entered against you? Do you want to get it modified? Were you unhappy with some of the restrictions or prohibitions in the FRO and you want to get them terminated or vacated?

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients successfully through the entire Final Restraining Order process in Madison, Randolph, Florham Park, Hanover, Tewksbury, Morristown, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey. Whether you were the victim of domestic violence and abuse and are seeking to modify your FRO, or have been falsely subjected to domestic violence allegations and want to terminate the order filed against you, our family law team is prepared to thoroughly investigate your unique situation, and make an informed recommendation in an effort to protect your safety, freedoms, and legal future.

Contact our firm today to schedule a comprehensive and confidential consultation regarding changes to your Final Restraining Order and your family´s options moving forward.

What if the Domestic Violence FRO is no longer necessary?

Changing a FRO needs to be done in person. The defendant and occasionally the plaintiff must file the appropriate petition with the applicable New Jersey county and Family Court where the restraining order was issued, in order to schedule a hearing to have the FRO terminated or modified.  If these steps are not taken, and the FRO remains in place, the defendant will continue to face severe consequences for any violation of the restraining order.

Circumstances that will be more favorably viewed by New Jersey Family Courts as a basis for a FRO to be terminated or “vacated” are when a couple (e.g., husband-wife, same-sex couple, boyfriend-girlfriend, etc) reconcile, and no longer want to have the FRO, or when both parties consent to the termination of the FRO for reasons unique and appropriate to the parties’ circumstances.  Significantly adverse problems could arise if the restraining order is still in place when/if the parties resume contact or relations.

Hanover Domestic Violence Attorney Discuss FRO Dismissal Hearings

Under New Jersey Family Law, a Carfagno hearing covers 11 “good cause” factors that must be considered in order to dismiss a domestic violence restraining order:

  • Consent of the victim to lift the restraining order
  • Victim’s fear of the defendant
  • Nature of the relationship between the parties today
  • Contempt convictions
  • Alcohol and drug involvement
  • Other violent factors or acts by the defendant
  • Whether the defendant has engaged in domestic violence counseling
  • Age/health of the defendant
  • Good faith of the victim/plaintiff
  • Orders entered by other jurisdictions
  • Any other factor deemed relevant by the court

A New Jersey Superior Court judge will weigh the above factors and decide whether a domestic violence restraining order should be modified or terminated.

Does Modifying a FRO Erase the Original Court Finding of Domestic Violence?

Even if an FRO is vacated or terminated, this does not erase the court’s original finding of domestic violence. It simply allows the FRO to be lifted or vacated so that it does not exist anymore, and remove the threat to the defendant that he/she may be arrested for violating the FRO. The court’s domestic violence finding remains a part of the court record, and the defendant’s name will remain on the National Domestic Violence Registry.

Will Modifying or Terminating a FRO Affect my Child Custody?

A domestic violence case and resulting restraining order can add levels of complexity to the issue of child custody. It is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney knowledgeable about the law pertaining to the custody of your children and domestic violence. An application to modify custody may require showing a “change of circumstances” and a hearing or trial in which the court will apply the same standard that would have applied at the time of the original custody determination. Just as with all child custody cases, determining “the best interest of the child”, NJSA 9:2-4 is paramount.

Contact our Madison Attorneys to Modify or Terminate a Final Restraining Order

A New Jersey domestic violence restraining order is intended to last a lifetime, thus protecting victims from further abuse or domestic violence. Considered necessary, circumstances that led to the issuance of the restraining order can change. Thus making it necessary that a restraining order is modified to suit changed circumstances or terminated. Defendants have rights too and should not be prevented from moving on when if statutory factors have been met or the need for continued protection no longer exist.

At Jacobs Berger LLC, our attorneys can assist parties in determining whether a final order should remain in place, or if modifications can be made to better meet the parties’ needs. Whether you are seeking to lift or modify a restraining order, or are opposing such action, proper evidence and argument must be presented to achieve the desired outcome. Contact Jacobs Berger to learn how we can help with terminating a FRO, modifying a FRO, or opposing termination or modification.

To speak with our family law team in a comprehensive and confidential consultation, and your options for securing legal representation, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 718-7705.

About the Author:

Jamie Berger practices exclusively in the area of family law. She has extensive experience in all aspects of litigation in family and appellate court proceedings. Prior to entering into private practice, Jamie served as a Law Clerk for The Honorable Eugene A. Iadanza, J.S.C. in the Monmouth County Superior Court, Family Part.

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