Appeal Of Final Restraining Order (FRO) Based on The Predicate Act of Harassment
Docket No. A-0250-21
Decided September 22, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Family Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey affirmed the trial court’s issuance FRO against the defendant. The defendant had appealed the FRO entered against him based on the predicate act of harassment.
The parties were married in 2019 and adopted plaintiff’s nieces in 2021. Shortly thereafter, defendant filed for divorce, and a few weeks later plaintiff filed a domestic violence complaint. The plaintiff alleged that while moving out of the marital home with the children, the defendant sent her multiple text messages and verbally abused her despite her request for him to cease contacting her. Plaintiff further alleged that he also repeatedly called the children, which caused them emotional distress. Plaintiff later alleged that the defendant had called her in violation of the TRO. She also added allegations of prior incidents during the parties’ relationship and marriage. Plaintiff testified that she felt “intimidated” and “terrified” whenever defendant would verbally attack her.
In response, defendant testified that he never physically harmed the plaintiff or threatened to do so. However, defendant alleged that he had caught plaintiff cheating on him on multiple occasions. The trial court ultimately found plaintiff’s testimony credible and defendant’s testimony not credible. The trial court noted that plaintiff’s testimony was consistent and detailed, whereas defendant was “emotional and unable to control himself” and demonstrated his paranoia about the plaintiff’s suspected infidelity. The trial court found that the text messages sent by defendant after plaintiff moved out of the marital home were demeaning and intended to harass plaintiff as she had asked defendant to stop contacting her. The trial court further found that there was a need for a FRO. The trial court also granted plaintiff’s application for counsel fees. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The court agreed with the trial court’s decision and reasoned that the frequency, volume, and content of defendant’s text messages to plaintiff after she requested no further contact from him supported a finding of harassment and a conclusion that a FRO was necessary to protect plaintiff from further harassment.
At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to Final Restraining Orders. For these types of matters, we represent either the plaintiff or defendant. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive exceptional representation in order for them to receive the most favorable outcome in their case as a result.
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