Credible Evidence Which Supported the Final Restraining Order (FRO) Results in Awarding Counsel Fees to Plaintiff
Docket No. A-2482-20
Decided September 22, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Family Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent unpublished opinion, the defendant appealed the FRO entered against him, and the Appellate Court of New Jersey affirmed the trial court’s ruling. The Appellate Court reasoned in their opinion that the trial court found credible evidence which supported the FRO and the trial judge correctly exercised her discretion in awarding counsel fees to plaintiff.
Defendant contended that the trial judge erred because her decision was not based on credible evidence in the record, and in awarding counsel fees to plaintiff. Defendant further asserted the trial judge violated his procedural due process rights by conducting the FRO hearing virtually and that during the hearing, plaintiff was “coached” by someone off screen. He argued that since his municipal conviction for simple assault was vacated, in part because that proceeding was conducted virtually and without his consent, “logic” dictated that decision extend to the FRO hearing.
The trial court found credible evidence supported the FRO and trial judge correctly exercised her discretion in awarding counsel fees to plaintiff. The court noted that the defendant never objected to the hearing being held virtually and rejected his argument on the merits. The parties were represented by counsel, trial judge did not improperly question the parties and nothing in the record suggested third parties were present. Court’s review of the transcript failed to support defendant’s argument that plaintiff was “coached” and it was entirely appropriate for trial judge to conduct a virtual hearing. Law Division’s vacating his assault charge did not warrant a similar result as to the FRO.
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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