Tips for Filing a Domestic Violence Claim
If you have been subjected to domestic violence, you can seek to file a claim in court. You can push for criminal charges for the perpetrator, file a civil case, and/or seek a restraining order. The court process can be complicated, and it’s not always easy to prove a domestic violence claim. Continue reading for advice on how to file a successful claim for domestic violence. If you or your family have been victimized by domestic violence, talk to a compassionate New Jersey domestic violence attorney for help protecting yourself and your loved ones.
Defining Domestic Violence in New Jersey
The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 (PDVA) lays out how New Jersey defines domestic violence. Per the law, domestic violence is established based on the relationship between the perpetrator and victim. Other criminal acts become domestic violence when they are committed by a current or former spouse, roommate (including live-in romantic partner), romantic partner, or co-parent.
The PDVA spells out certain predicate acts that could constitute domestic violence. These include assault and battery, criminal restraint, burglary, robbery, harassment, stalking, criminal trespass, coercion, homicide, and others.
Domestic Violence Does Not Require Physical Violence
Assault and battery by a spouse or romantic partner can certainly serve as grounds for a domestic violence claim. They are not required, however. As discussed, there are a number of other acts that constitute domestic violence. Criminal threats that put the victim in fear for their safety or the safety of their children can certainly constitute domestic violence. Harassment, burglary, stalking, lewdness, and other acts can also serve as grounds for a domestic violence claim.
Call the Police
If you have been abused or harassed, or if you are worried for your safety or that of your children, call the police and get to a safe place. Calling the police will help protect you and will also help with your eventual legal claims. The police can help you in filing for a temporary restraining order, and their report or testimony may serve as evidence in your plea for a restraining order.
Whether you hope to press criminal charges or you just need an order of protection, it helps to have evidence. Take pictures of your bruises, cuts, and other injuries. If your co-parent hurt your children, document those injuries as well. Keep copies of threatening or harassing texts, emails, voicemails, and other communications.
Any evidence you can provide to the court will support your eventual domestic violence claim. Unfortunately, many of these claims come down to credibility and “he said, she said,” so the more direct evidence you can provide, the better.
Talk to a Lawyer
A New Jersey domestic violence lawyer can help get you and your family to safety, and help you build your case for a domestic violence claim. You can obtain a temporary restraining order quickly, but the case will ultimately be decided at a final hearing. The court may entertain evidence, witness testimony, police testimony, and testimony from the parties, and will render a decision about whether to issue a final restraining order. An experienced family law and domestic violence attorney can help ensure that you and your family get the protection and the justice that you deserve.
Call Us ASAP to Protect You and Your Family from Domestic Violence in New Jersey
If you’ve been subjected to actual or threatened domestic violence, or if you are dealing with issues involving child custody, equitable division of property, alimony/spousal support, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the zealous and passionate Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.