Domestic Violence

When an act of domestic violence has been committed, the victim will be able to ask the court to enter a Temporary Restraining Order against the perpetrator. This restraining order, sometimes also known as a protection order or a temporary injunction, is designed to separate the parties and prohibit the perpetrator from having any contact with the victim.  It may result in the immediate removal of the perpetrator from the marital home, and in serious cases, it may result in the arrest of the perpetrator. In most states, a victim can obtain a Temporary Restraining Order or protection order without participating in a formal hearing.  Such temporary orders are granted, on short notice, with relatively little evidence, even without the perpetrator being notified.

After a temporary order is issued, the perpetrator will be given an opportunity to defend himself or herself. A final hearing will be scheduled, and both parties will be required to come to court.  In that final hearing, the victim will have an opportunity to testify and to present her evidence of domestic violence. The perpetrator will then have an opportunity to refute the evidence and testify and present any contrary evidence. If the victim persuades the court that an act of domestic violence occurred, then the court will likely convert the Temporary Restraining Order to a Final Restraining Order (or a final protection order or injunction). This may result in a complete and permanent or indefinite prohibition against communications, and it may force the parties to live separate. If, however, the perpetrator persuades the court that he or she did not commit an act of domestic violence, the court may dismiss the temporary orders and restore both parties to the same position they were in before the victim filed anything.

An experienced domestic violence lawyer can help you in these matters.

Who Can File A Domestic Violence Complaint?
A domestic violence complaint can be filed by one spouse against another, or by children or other household members. Protection against domestic violence is afforded to all parties who are related by blood or marriage. In many jurisdictions, a domestic violence case can also be filed against a boyfriend or girlfriend, or anybody who engaged in a dating relationship or caused the other party to become pregnant.

What Kind of Offenses Constitute Domestic Violence?
Not every act of misbehavior represents an act of domestic violence. Quarrels, yelling matches, cursing and other kinds of household disruptions do not automatically represent an act of domestic violence. In most states, it is necessary to prove that a specific act occurred in order to constitute an act of domestic violence. For example, in the State of New Jersey, the following criminal acts, if proven, will also constitute grounds for a domestic violence complaint between qualified parties:

  • Homicide
  • Assault
  • Terroristic Threats
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal Restraint
  • False Imprisonment
  • Sexual Assault
  • Criminal Sexual Contact
  • Lewdness
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Burglary
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Criminal Coercion
  • Robbery
  • Contempt of a Domestic Violence Order
  • Any Other Crime Involving Risk of Death or Serious Bodily Injury

In the State of Florida, the following acts, if proven, are considered as proof of domestic violence:

  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Stalking
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member  by another family or household member.

When a judge enters a domestic violence restraining order, he or she can also determine who will have custody of any children, and whether any child support or other financial arrangements will need to be made on a temporary basis. The family court judge can determine who will remain in a marital home, and who must move out. If appropriate, the judge may order one party to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, don’t wait. Contact the domestic violence lawyer Mark S. Guralnick now for a free consultation.

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