Dissolving a New Jersey Final Restraining Order
Posted February 28, 2023
In New Jersey, once a Court finds that a Defendant has committed a predicate act of domestic violence, and that a victim needs protection from further abuse, the Court will enter a Final Restraining Order. Unlike most other states, a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey remains in place indefinitely. There is no mandatory review of a Final Restraining Order and/or a term after which the Order will automatically terminate.
If a Defendant wishes to have the Court review a Final Restraining Order, that individual must file a Motion with the Court. New Jersey statute requires that the same Judge that entered the Order be the Judge deciding whether a modification or termination is appropriate. If that Judge is no longer available, for instance due to retirement, the Defendant must supply the Court with a complete record of the prior hearings.
In order to prevail on a Motion to modify or terminate a Final Restraining Order, a Defendant must make a showing of “good cause.” The Court will look to see whether circumstances have substantially changed since the entry of the Final Restraining Order warranting a second look. In deciding “good cause,” case law in New Jersey requires the Court to look at ten factors, as well as an eleventh “catch-all” factor. These factors, which were initially set forth in the case of Carfagno v. Carfagno, 288 N.J. Super 424 (Ch. Div. 1995), are as follows:
- Consent of the victim to lift the restraining order;
- Whether the victim fears the defendant;
- The nature of the relationship between the parties today;
- The number of times that the defendant has been convicted of contempt for violating the order;
- Whether the defendant has a continuing involvement with drug or alcohol abuse;
- Whether the defendant has been involved in other violent acts;
- Whether the defendant has engaged in counseling;
- The age and health of the defendant;
- Whether the victim is acting in good faith;
- Whether another jurisdiction has entered a restraining order protecting the victim from the defendant; and
- Other factors deemed relevant by the Court.
If you have any questions regarding the modification or dissolution of a New Jersey Final Restraining Order, please contact Brian Budic.
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