East Orange, NJ asked in Domestic Violence for New Jersey

Q: My ex girlfriend keeps filling temporary restraining orders against me I have no contact with her and haven't seen her.

She lives in NYC I live in NJ. I haven't seen her in 9 months.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Leonard R. Boyer
Leonard R. Boyer
  • Clifton, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: You are going to need to retain a NY matrimonial attorney, with extensive domestic violence trial experience, if these complaints are filed in NY, but if they are being filed in NJ, then you need a NJ attorney. Your question has omitted a significant amount of facts, which would be necessary to provide meaningful legal advice.

Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Millburn, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: This is a very dangerous setting that you need to take seriously.

You may think that her claims are false or frivolous, but based on her claims, a court can enter a permanent restraining order against you and then any violation of that order can result in your arrest and criminal prosecution.

Simply saying that she has filed many complaints against you does not mean that she does not have a legitimate basis for an order of protection.

Understand that 92.5% of all domestic violence complaints are based on "harassment" as opposed to actual physical assault. And, the definition of harassment is behavior engaged in by you to alarm, annoy or intimidate and can be a single incident or a series of incidents, including excessive text messaging, verbal threats or threats to harm her employment or to share personal information about her with co-workers, friends, etc.

Equally important, there is a distinction between her filing domestic violence complaints against you and voluntarily dismissing them versus her filing domestic violence complaints against you and having the court take testimony on her complaints and finding her claims to be frivolous or failing to rise to the level as warranting protection.

Presuming that your ex has filed several domestic violence complaints against you and then fails to show up on the court dates or simply dismisses them in advance of the court date, you may want to consider speaking with the chief of police in your town or the county prosecutor about her actions. For purposes of those meetings, you need to bring with you copies of each complaint so that they can see what the allegations were against you and whatever proofs you have to show that her claims were impossible. As an example, if she alleged that you were standing outside of her apartment in NYC yelling at her at 11 pm on xxxx date and you have documents showing that on that date and time, you were elsewhere, it would be viewed as relevant and may even support your filing of a domestic violence complaint against her for harassment.

If you do plan to meet with the police chief, prosecutor’s office or file your own complaint, make sure you have all of your documents in order and organized. No one is going to search their files or their system for you. Its your job to make the argument competently and clearly. Don’t embellish or go too far on your claims as well. Remember that there is a world of difference between filing a complaint based on harassment and then voluntarily dismissing it versus having a court find it lacked credibility.

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