Domestic Violence Cases in NJ

Domestic violence is more common than you think. Get the legal help you need from Keith Family Law.

Everyone has the right to live a life free from fear and harm. Domestic violence is an issue that cuts across all societal boundaries, and it’s one the attorneys at Keith Family Law approach with real gravity. Keith Family Law is home to a legal team in New Jersey committed to providing robust legal advocacy for victims of domestic violence, helping them through the complex legal landscape with clarity, confidence, and support.

Being wrongly accused of domestic violence is just as serious. There are registries, threats to professional licenses, and real consequences from the entry of a restraining order against you.  Keith Family Law is also dedicated to providing a vigorous defense to the wrongly accused.

In addition, Keith Family Law believes the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act may not be used as a sword and a shield to seek an unfair advantage in a pending divorce or to prevent an otherwise fit parent from seeing his or her children. We stand ready to prevent this from happening to you.

We provide a lifeline to those seeking to break free from abusive situations for the victim and for the wrongly accused. Our mission is to empower individuals, giving them the tools they need to reclaim their lives from the clutches of domestic violence and to protect the children who are caught in the middle. With Keith Family Law, you’re gaining advocates who will stand with you every step of the way on your path toward safety and security. Let us be your guide through domestic violence cases of all shapes and sizes. Contact us today.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence in NJ?

In New Jersey, domestic violence is treated very seriously and is defined by a broad range of behaviors beyond physical harm. The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) of 1991 identifies 14 criminal offenses that are considered domestic violence when inflicted upon a person protected under the Act. These offenses include stalking, homicide, assault, terrorist threats, and more.

Domestic violence includes emotional, verbal, financial, and sexual abuse, as well as intimidation, threats, and isolation. These behaviors can manifest in various ways and are not always immediately evident.

New Jersey’s domestic violence laws do not solely extend to spouses; they also protect individuals in dating relationships, household members, and those who share a child or are expecting one. Harassment, including cyberstalking, can be considered domestic violence.

Who Can Be a Victim of a Domestic Violence Act?

It’s a common misconception that only spouses or romantic partners can be victims of domestic violence. In reality, the law recognizes that anyone in a familial, intimate, or household relationship can be a victim.

This includes current or former spouses, individuals who are currently dating or have dated in the past, people living together or who have lived together previously, and individuals who have a child together or are expecting one. The law also protects individuals considered ‘at risk’ due to age, disability, or vulnerability to undue influence.

  • Current or former spouses.
  • Individuals currently or formerly in a dating relationship.
  • People living together or who have lived together in the past.
  • Individuals who share a child or are expecting one.
  • Any person, regardless of age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a child or with whom the victim shares or has shared a close personal relationship.


There is also a misconception that only women are protected by the Act. In fact, the statute is gender-neutral. This means men can and do receive restraining orders against abusive women in an intimate, household, or familial relationship. Keith Family Law has represented men and fathers successfully in several of these types of cases.

Legal Outcomes When You Report Domestic Violence

When faced with the harsh reality of domestic violence, it can feel overwhelming and daunting to take the first step towards seeking help. Fortunately, there are legal protections in place to support you, and at Keith Family Law, we are here to guide you through the options you may have in reporting your domestic violence situation.

When you report domestic violence, several legal outcomes can occur:

  • Protection Orders: Reporting domestic violence can lead to the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), which can provide immediate protection by legally prohibiting the abuser from contacting or coming near you.
  • Criminal Charges: Domestic violence is a criminal act. In some cases, it can lead to the perpetrator being prosecuted in municipal or even Superior Court.
  • Custody and Visitation Alterations: If children are involved in domestic violence cases, the court will make an order for custody and visitation, prioritizing the safety of the child.
  • Divorce Proceedings: Substantiated evidence of domestic violence influences divorce proceedings on several levels including child custody, alimony, and equitable distribution, and in married couples often indicates a divorce is on the horizon.


Domestic violence cases are nuanced and have lasting repercussions. Unless you are faced with an emergency situation, let Keith Family Law attorneys guide you to properly and effectively report your situation to the appropriate authorities.

Understanding Temporary Restraining Orders and the Role They Play in Domestic Violence Cases

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in New Jersey is a legal order issued by a judge to provide immediate protection for victims of domestic violence. Upon reasonable grounds of imminent danger or ongoing abuse, a TRO can be granted without the presence or notification of the accused, ensuring swift safety for the victim.

The TRO generally prohibits the abuser from contacting or approaching the victim and bars them from entering shared residences or workplaces. It may also grant temporary custody of children to the victim and mandate the abuser to pay or continue paying support.

A TRO is a short-term measure in effect until a final court hearing takes place. At the final court hearing, where both parties are present, a judge will decide whether to issue a Final Restraining Order (FRO), which provides permanent protection in New Jersey.

If you are served with a TRO, there is a lot you need to know. Keith Family Law’s dedicated attorneys will guide you through what’s next.

Domestic Violence in New Jersey: Carrie and Vince's Story

Let’s look at what happened between Carrie and Vince, a couple living in New Jersey, and see how they addressed their situation.

Carrie and Vince have been married for about two years and have a baby daughter named Ava. Lately, Vince’s behavior has been worrying. He’s been drinking more and trying to control their finances. Things got worse when Vince lost his job three weeks ago, leading to even more drinking and tense moments at home.

Two nights ago, Vince came home blackout drunk and things got out of hand. When Carrie asked him where he’d been, Vince got angry.  He started yelling at her and calling her names. He ended up punching a hole in the wall, scaring Carrie. In a moment of fear, Carrie threw a mug at Vince, bruising his arm. Their baby Ava started crying, making the situation even more chaotic. Carrie locked herself and Ava in their room while Vince banged on the door, shouting threats.

Carrie called the police from Ava’s room, and they arrived quickly. They separated Carrie and Vince and talked to them both. Vince decided to leave for a while to calm down. Feeling scared but empowered, Carrie asked for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to protect herself and Ava. The judge granted her request, giving her legal protection against Vince.

The next day, after he was served with Carrie’s TRO, Vince tried to fight back by filing his own TRO against Carrie, which the court granted because of the bruise on his arm. This shows how complicated these situations can be, with both sides trying to protect themselves and prove their point.

After getting the Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs), Carrie and Vince retained experienced domestic violence attorneys in New Jersey to prepare and guide them through the legal proceedings ahead.

At the final hearing, the court decided on whether to grant a Final Restraining Order (FRO). Carrie’s attorney succeeded, and the court gave Carrie an FRO against Vince. The decision came with some important rules to keep Ava safe and hold Vince accountable.

The court said Vince could see Ava, but only under supervision, ensuring Ava’s safety while allowing her to have a relationship with her father. Vince also had to take random alcohol tests and complete an anger management program within a month to address his issues.

Vince also had to pay child support for Ava and cover Carrie’s lawyer fees. This was important for Carrie’s financial stability and getting her the help she needed.

Vince’s attorney’s attempt for an FRO against Carrie didn’t work as well. The judge didn’t find Vince’s arguments persuasive, nor did he find Vince very truthful, and instead determined that Carrie was the victim in this situation.

Seeing the writing on the wall for their relationship, Carrie filed for divorce. The FRO would be a big part of their divorce proceedings, showing how domestic violence affects their lives.

Despite the tough road ahead, Carrie and Ava can breathe a bit easier knowing they’re safe from Vince’s harmful behavior, at least for now. By reaching out to the police and getting a TRO, Carrie took a big step toward keeping herself and her daughter safe, and putting Vince on the road to getting the help he needs. This case reminds us of the need for support and legal help for anyone facing domestic violence.

Keith Family Law Helps You

From Middlesex County to Essex County, Keith Family Law can help educate and provide legal aid while navigating domestic violence laws in NJ. We’re committed to serving you, and our fantastic legal team does a wonderful job serving as many people from as many locations in NJ as possible. No matter where you are, odds are you’re in range of our domestic violence legal team. Trust us to provide legal services in the following NJ counties:

  • Union County
  • Essex County
  • Middlesex County
  • Warren County
  • Hunterdon County
  • Morris County
  • Hudson County
  • Bergen County
  • Monmouth County

When Domestic Violence Occurs, Keith Family Law Can Provide the Legal Aid You Need

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects many individuals in New Jersey, with a domestic violence rate of over 30%.

But you’re not alone.

The legal resources available from the fantastic team at Keith Family Law are here to guide you through the process. We stand against domestic violence and strive to support victims in their journey towards safety and justice. Your courage, combined with our experience, can make a difference.

Every end is a new beginning

Contact our family law attorneys today to schedule your initial consultation or explore how we can help people just like you in specific family law areas: