Final Restraining Order (FRO) Against A Defendant Who Lived Out of The State of New Jersey

D.C. v. E.C.

Docket No. A-3462-18T4

Decided June 3, 2020

Submitted by New Jersey Family Law Firm, Hark and Hark

In a recent unpublished decision, the Appellate Division reviewed a decision to grant a final restraining order (FRO) against a defendant who lived out of the State of New Jersey, and who did not have contact with New Jersey since 2014.

In D.C., the both plaintiff and defendant lived in New Jersey where they started dating.  In 2014, they moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they married. The parties then relocated to Arizona where all of the acts of domestic violence that became subject of an Arizona order of protection and the New Jersey FRO occurred.

According to plaintiff’s complaint, defendant choked plaintiff from behind while telling her to “die bitch.” He then pushed plaintiff to the ground where he repeatedly punched her in the head causing numerous injuries.  The following day, defendant cocked his fist back and told plaintiff “if she does not listen, she will get what she deserves”.  Plaintiff was granted a restraining order in Arizona.

Plaintiff fled Arizona to New Jersey, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) because her Arizona restraining order was set to expire.  Plaintiff included several allegations of a history of domestic violence that occurred  in NJ prior to 2014 in her domestic violence complaint. Plaintiff was granted a TRO and the trial court also granted an FRO despite defendant’s absence.  The judge found that there was personal jurisdiction over the defendant because of the prior domestic violence that occurred in New Jersey.

The Appellate Division remanded for further proceedings.  Because the plaintiff has the burden of proving “minimum contacts” that a defendant must have with New Jersey in order for the court to have jurisdiction to grant an FRO, the Appellate Division found that defendant having no contact with NJ after 2014 to be insufficient by itself for the trial court to have jurisdiction.  The Appellate Division ordered the case remanded for further factual proceedings regarding defendant’s contact after 2014, and any possible contacts with New Jersey.

As you can see, jurisdiction is a crucial issue to any court proceeding. A court must have jurisdiction over the parties in order to proceed.  Jurisdiction can be very complex, and if you have any questions or concerns regarding a possible jurisdiction issue, you should contact an experienced attorney in domestic violence matters.  As found above, even when a defendant commits heinous acts of domestic violence, if a court lacks jurisdiction, they are held powerless to grant relief to a plaintiff.  Do not let this happen to you! Catch all the issue before you walk into court by speaking with a family lawyer today.

If you are a victim or have been accused of harassment, stalking, assault, or something similar while in a dating relationship, contact Hark & Hark immediately.  Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) and Final Restraining Orders (FRO) are serious matters and can have significant consequences.  Hearings are also scheduled very quickly, as these matters are considered emergent.  There is often little time to act.  Call now!

At Hark & Hark, we help clients with divorce, custody, domestic violence, child support, alimony issues and more.  In recognition of these trying financial times due to COVID-19, we are reducing fees and working with clients to come up with manageable payment plans. While we combat Coronavirus, we are offering special deals for first responders and individuals currently working in the medical field.  Initial consultation is always free and we are available remotely.

We represent clients in all towns in New Jersey, including Absecon, Atlantic City, Brigantine, Buena Borough, Buena Vista Township, Corbin City, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Estell Manor, Folsom, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Hammonton, Linwood, Longport, Margate, Mullica Township, Northfield, Pleasantville, Port Republic, Somers Point, Ventnor, and Weymouth Township.

Stay safe.

Michael J. Collis, Esquire

Posted in

Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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