How Can I Get My Restraining Order Removed, Vacated or Modified?
Upon good cause shown, any final order may be dissolved or modified upon application to the Family Part of the Superior Court. Because protection of the victim the primary objective, the court will carefully scrutinize the record and carefully consider the totality of the circumstances before removing the protective shield. Therefore, obtaining experienced legal assistance is crucial to any party’s attempts at modifying or removing a restraining order.
Procedurally, the judge who dissolves or modifies the order must either be the same judge who entered the order or be a judge who had available a complete record of the hearings on which the order was based. At a minimum, this includes all pleadings and orders, the court file and a complete transcript of the final restraining order hearing. Not every motion for dismissal requires a plenary hearing. The moving party (generally the defendant) must first make a prima facie showing of good cause for the dissolution; then the court must determine whether there are facts in dispute material to the resolution of the motion. Absent a showing of substantial changes in the circumstances that existed at the time of the final hearing, the court likely will not grant the application for dismissal.
What is Good Cause to remove a Restraining Order?
In determining whether good cause has been shown that the final restraining order should be dissolved upon request of the defendant, the court will consider: (1) whether the victim consented to lift the restraining order; (2) whether the victim fears the defendant; (3) the nature of the relationship between the parties on that date; (4) the number of times that the defendant has been convicted of contempt for violating the order; (5) whether the defendant has a continuing involvement with drug or alcohol abuse; (6) whether the defendant has been involved in other violent acts with other persons; (7) whether the defendant has engaged in counseling; (8) the age and health of the defendant; (9) whether the victim is acting in good faith if opposing the defendant’s request; (10) whether another jurisdiction has entered a restraining order protecting the victim from the defendant; and (11) any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
What If My Partner and I Have Reconciled?
A final restraining order will not always be set aside based just upon the parties’ reconciliation. Rather, the court will give careful consideration to the need for continued protection. A brief reconciliation between the parties does not result in the automatic vacation of a final or temporary restraining order. The court has discretion to deny an application to dissolve a restraining order even when the plaintiff is requesting the dissolution.
For assistance with dissolving your restraining order, contact our Point Pleasant office today at 848-238-2100.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.