Understanding the Meaning of Civil Restraints in NJ
October 14, 2021
In familial or intimate relationships, disagreements that become wars with neither side giving in, can lead to frustration and unfortunately, violence or related allegations. The courts may intervene when one party victimizes another by physical, emotional, or psychological violence and abuse. For example, a domestic violence victim in New Jersey may obtain a temporary restraining order from the local municipal court in an emergency, if necessary. Once the person seeking protection gets a temporary restraining order, they must return to court for a scheduled hearing ten days later for a full hearing to finalize the restraining order. A final restraining order makes permanent the order that forbids the accused from contacting the victim and from possessing weapons. It may also order the accused to pay child support and other costs resulting from the alleged abuse. But before a final restraining order trial, the parties may agree to settle their disagreements by alternative means. For example, they can file a motion with the family court for a civil restraint agreement instead of the final restraining order. If you are on either side of a restraining order matter in Union County or elsewhere in New Jersey, it is imperative that you understand the meaning of civil restraints and why it may or may not be a viable option for your case.
If you have questions regarding a restraining order case or what it takes to secure a civil restraints agreement as an alternative to a restraining order, talk to an experienced domestic violence attorney on our team by contacting us for a free consultation. We have extensive experience negotiating civil restraint outcomes in Union County Superior Court and other Superior Courts in NJ, and we can answer all of the questions and concerns you may have weighing on you. Call our office in Cranford at (908) 838-0150 for immediate help.
What are the Benefits of Civil Restraints in New Jersey?
Instead of suffering a lengthy trial on a final restraining order, some parties can agree to civil restraints to resolve their domestic violence cases. This agreement may be a suitable alternative when the parties prioritize various other needs over their problems, and the violence is not extreme or expected to continue without criminal penalties for violating the order. For the alleged abuser, civil restraints may not affect the defendant’s employment the way a protective order might. Some professional licenses or professions requiring the ability to possess and carry a weapon, may be in jeopardy if the person has a domestic violence restraining order against them. As for a victim, one who is dependent on the offender’s continued support may opt for protection under a civil restraint agreement rather than a restraining order. And if the civil restraint order does not work out, the victim can always get a restraining order.
In this way, the parties can agree on what goes into the order, rather than have the judge decide. And they can agree to various terms. Typically, civil restraints arise from domestic violence cases, divorces, or child custody disputes. Possible terms include an order restraining one party from contacting the other or mutual orders of non-contact. Alternatively, they can agree on the method and frequency of contact, for example, through email or text message, and only for purposes of communicating on child transportation and visitation. They can agree on a visitation schedule with the children and who remains in the family home. They can also restrict one or both parties from going to places where one party works, lives, shops, or attends for other reasons. And of course, they can restrict behaviors that threaten harm to the other, such as harassment, stalking, or other offensive conduct. Any legal terms the parties agree on may be included in civil restraints, including custody and support.
Why Not Agree to Civil Restraints?
Of course, severe domestic violence cases do not typically end with civil restraints, which is a negotiated solution. Victims of extreme violence cannot participate equally with their violent partners. When one party fears the other, they may negotiate from a position of strength but out of duress. In that case, the civil restraint is not a mutual, valid agreement, and a judge is unlikely to approve it.
Distinction Between Civil Restraint Agreements and Restraining Orders in NJ
A permanent restraining order lasts a lifetime unless you can get the FRO removed. Also, the terms of a civil restraint agreement can be more flexible than a restraining order, and the penalties for violating one are a civil, not a criminal matter. Suppose one or both parties violate the terms of a civil restraints agreement. In that case, the non-violating party may file a motion in the family court for sanctions or monetary punishment for not abiding by the order. After a judge hears the evidence presented by the parties, they decide on the sentence. The judge may order the offending party to pay the other monetary sanctions but will not order the party incarcerated as they would in a temporary or final restraining order. Those who violate protective orders may be arrested, fingerprinted, and jailed for as long as 18 months and pay expensive fines. Domestic violence defendants also become part of a statewide database identifying offenders.
Why get a Lawyer for Negotiating Civil Restraints in Union County, NJ
Since the civil restraint must be prepared in an acceptable form for a family court judge to approve and implement the court’s order, parties ordinarily have attorneys help them negotiate and draft these documents. Each party has distinct motivations for entering a civil restraint agreement, and each seeks to have their wants and needs protected. With the help of our domestic violence lawyers, who have thorough knowledge of both the family and criminal laws and procedures regarding restraining orders and civil restraints, we can work to ensure your interests are protected and you are able to reach solutions based on your unique situation.
Speak to an Elizabeth NJ Civil Restraints Attorney Today
If you are the plaintiff or the defendant in a domestic violence action, you should speak with an attorney on our team who can inform you about the civil restraints option to resolve the issues in this manner. A knowledgeable restraining order and domestic abuse attorney at our Union County law office can tell you about the pros and cons of the restraining order and civil restraint options applicable to your case. We can advise and explore which is better for you and your family. Contact (908) 838-0150 for a free consultation today.