One of the most greatly anticipated parts of this Sunday’s Super Bowl is, of course, the fun and memorable commercials! Corporations spend big bucks to make an impression. For us, and maybe for you, the Super Bowl ad from the past few years that has stayed with us is this one from the non-profit abuse and assault awareness group, NoMore. Remember? In the ad, a 911 caller orders a pizza, and the smart 911 operator quickly understands that what’s really being ordered is emergency help in a domestic violence incident.
There has been great debate about Super Bowl Sunday and whether or not there is increased rates of domestic violence on this day. Our stance is simple. Of the 70,000 cases of domestic violence reported each year in New Jersey (and the countless cases that go unreported), will partner abuse occur somewhere in New Jersey on Sunday? Tragically, yes. And with that in mind, we want to offer our own Super Bowl Domestic Violence PSA!
If you or someone you know needs this information, here is an easy-to-follow on how to get the protection you deserve through obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) against your abuser. The process is straightforward and could be the beginning of your path to a safer future:
Step One: Where to Go
You can obtain a temporary restraining order at your local family courthouse during regular court hours or 8:30am to 4:30pm. Go to the courthouse in your county or where the abuse most recently happened and let the staff in the family division that you need a temporary restraining order. After hours, on weekends (Saturday and Sunday), and on holiday closing days, go to your local police station where you will be assisted.
Step Two: How to Prepare Paperwork
You will next fill out a TRO application with basic information and details regarding the most recent incident of abuse (the predicate act) and any history of abuse. Be thorough and include details regarding all incidents past and present.
Step Three: Make It Official
A judge will decide, based on your allegations whether to issue a TRO, right away. If it is outside of regular court hours, your local police department can assist you in obtaining a TRO.
Step Four: Serve the Abuser
After the TRO is issued, your abuser will be served the approved TRO papers. They are then on notice and cannot contact you in any way, shape or form.
Step Five: Converting Your TRO to a FRO
Within ten days of your getting the TRO, you will have a trial, before a family court judge who will decide whether to dismiss your TRO or have the TRO become a final restraining order or FRO. FROs in New Jersey are permanent and it is very difficult for them to be dismissed.
Step Six: Proving Your Case
In order to have your TRO become permanent, you have to prove that there was an act of domestic violence that occurred and that you have an ongoing need for the FRO in order to protect you. If you do not prove that predicate act (the incident that led you to file the TRO) or that you have an ongoing need for protection, you will not get the FRO. The TRO will be dismissed and there will no longer be any protections in place. Strongly consider having a family law attorney represent you in the FRO hearing. Hearings can be complicated, stressful and emotional. You will have to testify in open court in front of your abuser and you will have to present evidence such as medical reports or phone records to prove your case. Your chances of getting the FRO increase a great deal if you have an attorney assisting you.
IMPORTANT: If you are in immediate danger, get out of your situation as soon as possible. Think about joining a domestic violence support group or reaching out to the New Jersey Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-572-SAFE.
If you need further legal assistance, please contact us today to schedule your confidential consultation with one of our skilled and compassionate family law attorneys. We can guide you through the TRO process, and apply for other orders you need, including child support, child custody, and alimony to give you money to live.