FRO Trial Did Not Violate Defendant’s Due Process Rights and She Failed to Show Any Prejudice

E.L.C. v. D.M.F.

Docket No. A-3033-20

Decided October 21, 2022

Submitted by New Jersey Family Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided defendant’s appeal of a final restraining order (“FRO”) entered against her and in favor of the plaintiff.

The parties were married in 2015 and were in the middle of a contentious divorce at the time of the FRO hearing. Custody of the children was a very disputed. In March 2021, a judge granted sole physical custody of the children to the plaintiff and prohibited the defendant from entering the marital home or surrounding property unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. Defendant could also speak to her children through the phone or video calls twenty minutes daily.

In the summer of 2020, Plaintiff applied for a restraining order in the summer of because of defendant’s manic text messages, but was unsuccessful. Plaintiff subsequently alleged the predicate act of harassment based on defendant repeatedly appearing at bus stop across from plaintiff’s house to see the children leave for school despite court order prohibiting defendant from going near plaintiff’s house or having in-person contact with the children. Defendant admitted having been at the bus stop, but stated that the plaintiff invited her.

The trial judge found that plaintiff’s testimony more credible than defendant’s testimony and concluded that defendant committed the predicate act of harassment by repeatedly appearing at the bus stop across from plaintiff’s house to see the children leave for school. The trial judge noted that these appearances were in defiance of the court order entered in the matrimonial action and despite plaintiff’s warning that she would seek a restraining order. Defendant appealed.

On appeal, the Appellate Court found that Court found the adjournment of the FRO trial did not violate defendant’s due process rights and she failed to show any prejudice. The Appellate court stated that there was sufficient evidence to support the trial judge’s finding of an intent to harass, and the defendant’s violation of the court order was relevant in that finding. The Appellate Court was also unconvinced by defendant’s claim that trial judge did not consider the best interests of the children since this was contradicted by the record. Thus, the trial court’s ruling was affirmed.

At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to appealing an order granting a FRO. 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.

We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing a similar situation to that of either party in this case, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including Audubon, Gloucester City, Oaklyn, Audubon Park, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Barrington, Haddon Heights, Pine Hill, Bellmawr, Haddon Township, Pine Valley, Berlin Borough, Haddonfield, Runnemede, Berlin Township, Hi-Nella, Somerdale, Brooklawn, Laurel Springs, Stratford, Camden, Lawnside, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Waterford, Chesilhurst, Magnolia, Winslow, Clementon, Merchantville, Woodlynne, Collingswood, Mt. Ephraim, and Gibbsboro.

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Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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