Domestic Violence and B.L.F. v. T.G.C.

Domestic violence, unfortunately, impacts millions of people every day.  In the United States, one in three women and one in four men have experienced domestic violence.  Although most people think of domestic violence in terms of physical violence, it can also include emotional abuse or financial abuse.  There are several options for help for victims of domestic violence.  One option is filing for a temporary restraining order or TRO.  As with any other court action, the defendant will be served with a copy of the TRO and have the opportunity to appear in court to defend the allegations contained in the request for the TRO.  A recent unpublished New Jersey appellate court case dealt with the issue of what will happen if evidence at the TRO hearing includes allegations not contained in the original complaint.

In B.L.F. v. T.G.C., the plaintiff and defendant got in an altercation in the parking lot of plaintiff’s gym.  It was undisputed that Plaintiff was in her car when Defendant appeared unannounced and put his arm in Plaintiff’s car window.  Plaintiff testified that she told Defendant she did not want to speak to him and attempted to roll up the window; Defendant pushed her window down, and the two proceeded to yell at each other.  Plaintiff began to back her car up, and Defendant grabbed her arm and left bruises.  Defendant claimed that Plaintiff rolled up her window, trapping his arm inside, and he had to push the window down to get free, and he then fell to the ground as Plaintiff drove away.  The trial court rejected Defendant’s version of events and granted Plaintiff a Final Restraining Order (FRO).  The trial court based its decision not only on the parking lot incident but also on incidents of Defendant appearing at other places where Plaintiff happened to be.  Two of the incidents that were testified to were not contained in the initial request for a TRO.

On appeal, the Appellate Court considered whether it was proper for the trial court to consider evidence related to the incidents that were not contained in the original TRO petition.  The Court of Appeals decided it was not proper for the trial court to consider this evidence without first at least asking Defendant if he required additional time to prepare a defense in relation to these extra incidents

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If you are in involved in a request for a TRO, contact us today.  We have experience helping our clients with these cases.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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