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Consequences of a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”) in New Jersey

The issuance of a Final Restraining Order or FRO in New Jersey “has serious consequences to the personal and professional lives of those who are found guilty of what the Legislature has characterized as ‘a serious crime against society.'” Bresocnik v. Gallegos, 367 N.J. Super. 178, 181 (App. Div. 2004) (quoting N.J.S.A. 2C:25-18).  “[F]amilial relationships may be fundamentally altered when a restraining order is in effect.” Chernesky v. Fedorczyk, 346 N.J. Super. 34, 40 (App. Div. 2001).   Some of the most significant consequences of the entry of a final restraining order are as follows:

    1. the exclusion of the defendant from the joint residence (even if the FRO is issued against the owner of the residence);
    2. preventing the defendant from going to the plaintiff’s place of employment;
    3. visitation orders or suspension of visitation;
    4. monetary compensation for losses suffered payable by the defendant (such as paying plaintiff’s attorney’s fees);
    5. mandatory counseling for defendant;
    6. Drug and/or alcohol counseling;
    7. a grant of temporary custody;
    8. an order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff, children or other persons;
    9. exclusion from owning firearm; and
    10. inclusion in the domestic violence registry, which is available to law enforcement agencies and Family Court domestic violence personnel.

In addition to the above legal consequences, there are a host of practical consequences.  They include, but are not limited to, having difficulty obtaining a position in law enforcement or in corrections.  In matrimonial proceedings, an FRO is extremely detrimental to a spouse seeking custody and parenting time.

Once a FRO is issued, any violated it is deemed a criminal offense.  See N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9.  What’s more, if a violation is merely alleged, New Jersey law requires a mandatory arrest.  See N.J.S.A. 2C:25-31.  A violation can be as minor as a phone call or text message.  While a first violation may not result in any jail time, a second violation of a FRO calls for a mandatory thirty (30) days in jail.  See N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30.   All of the above must be considered when prosecuting or defending a FRO.

Mark W. Catanzaro and Daniel M. Rosenberg are litigation attorneys who practice criminal and civil law in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.  Both Mr. Rosenberg and Mr. Catanzaro prosecute and defend clients in FRO hearings throughout New Jersey.  For legal assistance or representation, Mr. Catanzaro and Mr. Rosenberg can be contacted at (609) 261-3400.


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