More Training for Lawyers on Domestic Violence
Most experienced family lawyers are skillful at handling domestic violence cases, but some of the people on court committees and legislative panels think it may be time for some retraining.
They may not be wrong.
After all, on August 10, 2015, the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act was expanded to include two more criminal offenses and two more categories of offenses as constituting the predicate acts for domestic violence. The two new criminal offenses are criminal coercion under N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-5 and robbery under N.J.S.A. § 2C:15-1. The two new categories of offenses are contempt of domestic violence order constituting a crime or a disorderly persons offense and a catch-all provision defined as “any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected under” the Act. This brings the total number of alternative forms of domestic violence to 18 under the Act.
Recommendation 16 of the Report of the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Domestic Violence issued in June of this year calls for mandatory domestic violence training for certified matrimonial attorneys.
Most recently, in fact, on July 21, 2016, a group of legislators drafted a Resolution urging the New Jersey Supreme Court to require training on domestic violence issues as part of the continuing legal education requirements for certified matrimonial attorneys.
Assembly Resolution No. 161, introduced by Assemblywomen Nancy F. Munoz and Gabriela M. Mosquera, together with Assemblymen Troy Singleton and Louis D. Greenwald, points out that certified matrimonial attorneys routinely handle issues such as divorce, alimony, child custody and support which are often intertwined with domestic violence, and it is important that these attorneys be trained in domestic violence as well.
For a copy of the Assembly Resolution clickhttp://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/AR/161_I1.PDF.