Q: Plaintiff threatening criminal charges for defendant violating a TRO -if defendant does not sign civil restraint
Is this considered coercion? How to vacate civil restraints without plaintiff agreement?
A: You cannot easily vacate civil restraints. You would need to retain an experienced matrimonial attorney, with extensive domestic violence trial experienced and that attorney would have to show you meet the critieria of The seminal case setting forth the “good cause” standard in New Jersey is Carfagno v. Carfagno. See 288 N.J. Super. 424, 672 A.2d 751 (Ch.Div. 1995). In Carfagno, the Superior Court of New Jersey set forth the standard that New Jersey courts still use today. In the Carfagno case discussion, the Family Part court listed many factors relevant to determining whether the defendant meets the “good cause” With modern technology, you can be represented by any high-quality attorney in New Jersey irrespective of geography. Pick the best attorney you can find and remember one rule: a good attorney is generally never cheap, and a cheap attorney is generally never good so don't choose based on price.
1. Plaintiff has obtained a domestic violence temporary restraining order against defendant
2. Defendant violated the domestic violence temporary restraining order by contacting plaintiff
3. Plaintiff now says to defendant that if he does not agree to the imposition of a civil restraining order, plaintiff will report defendant to the police for the violation of the temporary restraining order
If plaintiff reports defendant for the "knowing" violation of the domestic violence temporary restraining order, that violation constitutes a separate basis under the statute for the court to grant a final restraining order and it also amounts to criminal contempt of the temporary restraining order - and additional consequences - so the real question is whether you did violate the domestic violence temporary restraining order - regardless of the reasoning for it.
If you did, you have serious issues ahead and you may want to see if you can resolve the matter through a civil restraining order or presume that the plaintiff will notify the police of your actions and then you will be arrested and charged with contempt.
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