Although evidence offered by a putative victim may suffice to meet the definition of harassment

A final restraining order may issue only if the judge finds that: the plaintiff and the defendant have a relationship bringing the conduct within the Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19a, -19d; defendant committed an act designated as domestic violence, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19a; and the “‘restraining order is necessary . . . to protect the victim from an immediate danger or to prevent further abuse,’” J.D. v. M.D.F., 207 N.J. 458, 475-76 (2011) (quoting Silver v. Silver, 387 N.J. Super. 112, 126-27 (App. Div. 2006) and discussing N.J.S.A. 2C:25–29b).

As the Supreme Court made clear in J.D.:

Although evidence offered by a putative victim may therefore suffice to meet the definition of harassment, courts must be careful not to overlook the statutory requirement that there be a finding that “relief is necessary to prevent further abuse.” N.J.S.A. 2C:25–29b. Merely concluding that plaintiff has described acts that qualify as harassment and omitting this added inquiry opens the door to potential abuse of the important purposes that the Act is designed to serve and threatens to “trivialize the plight of true victims,” Corrente [v. Corrente, 281 N.J. Super. 243, 250 (App. Div. 1995)], in the process. [207 N.J. at 476; see also Silver, supra, 387 N.J. Super. at 126-28 (remanding for a determination on the need for a restraining order in a case involving assault).]

NOTE from Paul G. Kostro, Esq.: If you are interested in Mediation; or have issues relating to Divorce, Domestic Violence, Child Support or Other Legal Matters, please call me to schedule an appointment — I can be reached by telephone at (908)486-2200; or by Email. [HOME]

NOTE: My Law Office is located at 726 West Saint Georges [W. St. Georges] Avenue (Route 27), Linden, Union County, NJ. Telephone: 908-486-2200; EM@IL

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