If you're a New Jersey resident going through the restraining order process, it'd be helpful for you to understand the different types of protection orders that alleged victims have available to them. These orders are very similar in some ways but vary in others, so knowing what powers and protections they offer is key.
Restraining orders are sought by alleged abuse victims, and they come in many shapes and forms depending on the alleged offense. While restraining orders, in general, tend to be petitioner-centric, there's a more diplomatic type of restraining order called a “civil restraint order.”
A civil restraint order is an order that removes the protection order filing from the environs of the courtroom and instead places it at the negotiating table where both parties can come to a mutual agreement about the appropriate type of protection order that works for them. The court's role will then be to approve and enforce the order.
Cases revolving around regular restraining orders are decided in the courtroom after the judge hears arguments and testimony from both sides about why a restraining order should be or shouldn't be granted.
With a civil restraint order, that entire process is skipped. With this type of order, both parties are able to sit down and work out on their own what type of order should be implemented. Both sides should be represented by counsel. If you're in the process of being served with a restraining order, you need to make sure that you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible so that you can weigh your options.
What Is a Civil Restraints Order?
When determining whether or not you should get a civil restraints order, it would help to know exactly what one is. A civil restraint order is simply another type of restraining order contract. When a civil restraints order is presented to the court, the judge overseeing the proceedings does not supervise or handle any of the negotiations.
With civil restraints orders, once both parties are able to come to an agreement regarding parameters, they will then present the agreed-upon document to the court so that it can be accepted and entered into the record. In a civil restraints order proceeding, the judge's main purpose is to make sure that the agreed-upon measures are appropriate and that the agreement is legally complete.
When judges oversee restraining order cases, their main job is to determine what happened between both parties and to decide if and how to grant protection through some type of court order. When a petitioner seeks a protective order, they need to show the court that the defendant is guilty of committing the acts as described and that the protection order is absolutely necessary. When the petitioner goes before the court, they will provide the judge with testimony about the defendant's behavior and alleged acts. If there are any witnesses available, they will be able to give testimony as well. This testimony will help the judge determine what happened and if a restraining order should be authorized.
If the two parties decide to go through the civil restraints order process, the court hearing listed above doesn't happen. Instead, an agreement will be made between the two parties as to how to proceed going forward.
The purpose of restraining orders or civil restraint orders is to provide protection to petitioners from assault, abuse, and unwanted contact. The orders differ in how they are enforced.
If someone has a restraining order against them and they commit a violation, they can get into serious trouble. Someone who violates a restraining order could face criminal charges even if they didn't commit a separate crime. Simply violating the restraint order itself is a crime. On the other hand, if someone violates a civil restraints order, this is viewed as a breach of contract. This type of violation usually results in civil enforcement measures by the court.
Provisions of a Cumberland County Civil Restraints Order
Whether someone gets a civil restraints order or a restraining order in Cumberland County, they'll be provided with significant protection from the court from either one. The protection provided by both includes the following:
- Orders allowing very limited contact via email or text messaging
- No contact orders
- Orders against assaultive conduct
- Orders that allow very limited contact when it comes to child custody cases
- Orders against abusive conduct
- Orders against harassment
With a civil restraints order, both the petitioner and the respondent will meet, discuss, and ultimately determine which measures are necessary for an acceptable agreement between the two of them. This agreement will be discussed and managed through their legal counsel.
If you're considering a civil restraints order, it's extremely important that you have legal counsel on hand to handle the negotiations for you. Not only will this help ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome, but it will also help ensure that you don't violate any existing protective orders by contacting the petitioner directly. Even if you do so in good faith and with the best intentions, you could get into serious legal trouble.
When Can a Civil Restraints Order Be Entered?
Civil restraints orders are entered during divorce, custody, or child support proceedings, and they include restraints from acts like domestic violence or harassment. If the parties in these cases wish to file a civil restraints order instead of moving forward with a regular restraining order, they can only do so after a temporary restraining order has already been issued by the court.
When a petitioner reaches out and seeks a temporary restraining order, they need to file a detailed petition with the court and attend a hearing with the judge. The judge will then determine if immediate protection is needed. If they determine that it is needed, they will then issue a temporary restraining order. Once that's issued, a date for the final restraining order hearing will be set.
The final order hearing usually takes place within ten days, and that hearing will determine if the temporary protections should continue forever. If the parties involved decide that they want a civil restraint order instead, they need to have that discussion before the final restraining order hearing is held. Once the final restraining order hearing has happened, it will be too late to file for a civil restraints order.
The Advantages of a Civil Restraints Order Over a Restraining Order
When it comes to civil restraints orders, there are some advantages that appeal to both petitioners and defendants. From the petitioner's standpoint, there are several advantages:
- They will have a guaranteed protective order, something not guaranteed when they go through the regular restraining order process
- They will be able to avoid the extreme stress of having to go through a final restraining order hearing
- They'll be able to choose exactly which terms are desirable to them
From the defendant's standpoint, there are several advantages as well:
- They'll be able to negotiate the terms
- They'll also be able to avoid the stress of having to go through a final restraining order hearing
- They will have the ability to avoid a restraining order altogether
- They'll be able to avoid having to deal with law enforcement if there are alleged violations
- They'll be able to avoid having to go through negative professional and employment issues that can arise from having a restraining order on their record
If you want to put an end to a current restraining order, starting a civil restraint order negotiation is one of the best ways to accomplish that. Keep in mind that it needs to be filed after a temporary restraining order is filed but before the final restraining order is issued. Also, remember that both the petitioner and the defendant need to agree on all the terms before the court will accept it. Once the court accepts it, it will enter the agreement for enforcement. If the court doesn't believe that the agreement is either complete, acceptable, or reasonable, it will not accept it.
What Happens If Someone Violates a Civil Restraints Order?
If someone violates a civil restraint order, the penalties will be civil in nature instead of criminal. However, if the violation of a civil restraints order is actually a criminal offense, criminal charges unrelated to the civil restraint order violation can be imposed.
Where Can I File a Civil Restraints Order In Cumberland County?
If you've already filed a temporary restraining order, a civil restraints order needs to be filed in the same exact court. If you filed the temporary restraining order in Cumberland County Superior Court, then you need to file the civil restraints order with the Cumberland County Superior Court.
The address for the court is as follows:
Cumberland County Superior Court
60 W. Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
The court is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you're looking into filing a civil restraints order, it's absolutely imperative that you retain legal counsel. This will not only help ensure that everything is filed correctly, but it will also help ensure that you will not be in violation of any existing restraining order.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have any questions about civil restraints orders in Cumberland County, you need to speak with an experienced attorney. You need to know exactly what the Cumberland County Superior Court is looking for when determining whether or not they will grant a civil restraints order. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have the experience necessary to successfully complete the process. Call The Lento Law Firm toll-free at 888-535-3686, or contact us online.