A plaintiff may apply for a restraining order in a court having jurisdiction over the place where an alleged act of domestic violence occurred, where the defendant resides, or where the plaintiff resides or is sheltered.
The court follows the same procedures applicable to other emergency applications. Criminal complaints filed pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act are to be investigated and prosecuted in the jurisdiction where the offense is alleged to have occurred. This means that the criminal complaint may be handled by the municipality where the offense occurred or, if appropriate, by the Superior Court in the county where it occurred. Contempt complaints filed pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9 are prosecuted in the county where the contempt is alleged to have been committed, and a copy of the contempt complaint must be forwarded to the court that issued the order alleged to have been violated.
In order for a court to have jurisdiction in a domestic violence matter, the individual seeking relief must be considered a “victim” of domestic violence as defined by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The Act defines a victim as a person protected under the Act, including
- Any person who is 18 years of age or older or an emancipated minor who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member.
- Any person, regardless of age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom (s)he has a child in common, or, if one of the parties is pregnant, anticipates having a child in common.
- A person of any age who have been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the (s)he has had a dating relationship.
If the person seeking a restraining order does not meet the above definition, the court does not have jurisdiction under the Act to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a final restraining order (FRO).
This information has been compiled as a result of the numerous trials and domestic violence matters Kevin B. Legreide, Esq. has conducted and been involved in over the years. Mr. Legreide is also very experienced in criminal and municipal matters and understands the relationship between a civil domestic violence matter and the pending criminal or municipal matter.
To discuss your matter and the issues of jurisdiction call The Mark Law Firm. The Mark Law Firm provides domestic violence assistance to all of Ocean and Monmouth Counties in central New Jersey and Somerset, Essex, Hunterdon, Union and Middlesex Counties.