I recently represented a client at a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”) Hearing at the Somerset County Superior Court in Somerville, New Jersey. My client’s ex-wife filed a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) against him based on alleged assault that occurred during a curbside pick up and drop off of their two children. My client’s girlfriend was present during the alleged assault and the Court conducted a hearing to determine (1) if an assault actually occurred and (2) if a restraining order should issue. My client’s ex-wife also filed assault charges against him in criminal court in Hillsborough, New Jersey. These simple assault criminal charges were handled in Hillsborough Municipal Court.
At the Final Restraining Order hearing, known as an “FRO hearing”, the alleged victim testified as to why she believed an assault occurred and as to why she believed a restraining order was necessary. My client then testified as to the alleged assault, or lack thereof, and my client’s girlfriend also testified and corroborated his story.
The judge considered (1) any history of domestic violence between the parties, (2) if the predicate act occurred (in this case an assault), and (3) if it is reasonable for the alleged victim to fear for her safety and if a restraining order is necessary to ensure same. In this case, the judge determined that there was no history of domestic violence, that an assault may have occurred but it was a mutual assault/fight, and that there was no reason for the alleged victim to fear for her safety based on the history and circumstances. As a result, the restraining order was dismissed. Further, the alleged victim decided she did not want to pursue the criminal charges further (and sit through another trial) and dismissed the simple assault charges in Hillsborough Municipal Court as well.
This was the correct result in this case and my client was extremely happy to put this episode behind him.