NJ Appellate Court Upholds FRO Decision in PDVA Case
Docket No. A-3516-21
Decided August 25, 2023
Submitted by New Jersey Family Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided defendant’s appeal from a final restraining order (FRO) entered against him pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), in favor of plaintiff.
Plaintiff and defendant share a child together but were never married. The parties’ son is seven years old and autistic. Plaintiff has sole physical and legal custody of the child, subject to defendant’s supervised parenting time. In May 2022, plaintiff obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against defendant alleging defendant harassed her.
Plaintiff testified at the final hearing that defendant called her after a supervised visit with her son and told her she was “a whore” and he was going to “tell their son she’s a whore” and that she needed to take him off child support right now. Plaintiff further testified that a few days after this event, defendant verbally berated her and reiterated he did not want to pay child support for his son. Plaintiff also testified about a history of domestic violence between the parties. She advised that in 2020, defendant shoved her in front of their son and called her expletive names because she would not let them throw rocks at police cars behind the police station.
Defendant testified his language towards plaintiff was often offensive because he was a very direct person and he communicated as such because he is a perfectionist. He denied ever shoving plaintiff in 2020 and stated his interactions with plaintiff were never physical.
After considering the testimony of both parties, the trial court concluded plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant did commit acts of harassment and an FRO was needed to protect her from further abuse. The judge found that plaintiff was credible and defendant was not. Defendant appealed.
On appeal, defendant contended that the trial court improperly concluded that he committed the predicate act of harassment and improperly found that the two-prong test in Silver v. Silver mandated the issuance of an FRO. The Appellate Court ultimately determined that that the trial judge’s credibility and factual findings were amply supported by the record and affirmed the lower court’s ruling. The court indicated that defendant’s arguments lacked merit.
At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to FRO trials. 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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