New Jersey Domestic Violence Attorney
The Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro provides full-service, comprehensive family law representation in Union, Essex and Middlesex counties, including matters involving allegations of domestic violence. Whether in conjunction with a divorce or child custody dispute or as a stand-alone matter, Union family law attorney John D’Alessandro fights for the safety and protection of domestic violence victims and stands up for the reputation and rights of persons wrongly accused of domestic violence or abuse.
A domestic violence complaint sometimes precedes or accompanies a divorce action in New Jersey. An act of violence or ongoing pattern of abuse may be a cause that leads to a divorce, or the filing of a petition may bring strong emotions and bitter disputes to the surface, where they erupt in violence or are misinterpreted as threatening. When they arise in a divorce, allegations of domestic violence may impact every aspect of the divorce, including child custody, child support, alimony and the division of property. John B. D’Alessandro provides compassionate and effective legal counsel in matters of domestic violence, acting quickly to keep victims and children safe or advocating for fair treatment of the accused.
New Jersey Domestic Violence Law
Under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, domestic violence can include any assault or sexual assault, as well as harassment, stalking and several other offenses, when they are committed by a current or former spouse, someone in a dating relationship, a member of the household, or someone who has impregnated the alleged victim or has a child in common with the alleged victim.
The first line of defense to stop domestic violence is to go to court and obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) which can prevent the alleged abuser from having any type of contact with the victim. A complaint can even be sworn out over the phone, so it is not even necessary to actually go to court to get a TRO.
The TRO can be issued without the prior knowledge of the alleged abuser. However, a trial must be scheduled within ten days of the temporary order, and the alleged abuser has the right to appear at that trial and challenge the order. At the trial, the judge can dismiss the TRO or convert it into a final restraining order (FRO). This hearing is a very important stage, and both parties should be represented by experienced legal counsel.
In addition to prohibiting a person from having any contact with the alleged victim, a restraining order can keep a parent away from the children, order the person out of the house, and turn over any firearms to law enforcement. No-contact orders can even extend to the family pet! The judge has broad discretionary powers and authority in drafting a restraining order.
Domestic Violence Affects the Issues in a New Jersey Divorce
A restraining order can make orders for child custody, child support and spousal support. The judge can award possession of the home or car to one party as part of the order. Once these orders have been made, they will obviously have an impact on how those matters would be determined in a divorce. In divorce court, the fact of domestic violence can influence an alimony award, and persons who have committed domestic violence are generally prohibited from sharing in child custody and may be restricted to only supervised visitation on a limited basis.
If you have been abused or fear that violence is imminent, get to a safe place and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or call 9-1-1 in an emergency. If you need legal advice and representation in a domestic violence proceeding, such as a Final Restraining Order hearing or in divorce proceedings, contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro in Union for assistance from an experienced New Jersey family law attorney.