Many people wonder about the level of protection provided by a Restraining Order (temporary or final) if the protected party moves out of the state of New Jersey. In short, a protected party will continue to enjoy the protections of a restraining order even if the party is not in the State. If it is a temporary restraining order, it is important to remember that another state may not be able to extend or reinstate the New Jersey Order if it expires. As such, the protected party will need to appear in New Jersey for the Final Restraining Order Hearing. Some counties will allow the protected party to appear telephonically, if necessary.
If the protected party has a Final Restraining Order, that order will be fully enforceable in another state, provided that the Order complies with federal law. The Violence Against Women Act, a federal law, provides that all valid Restraining Orders granted in the United States receive “full faith and credit” in other states. See 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a). A Restraining order complies with federal law provided that it was issued to prevent violence, the court that entered the order had the authority to do so, and the abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to be heard in court (or will have the opportunity in the instance of a Temporary Restraining Order).
A protected party may wish to register his or her Restraining Order in the new state, which will assist the local authorities in locating the Restraining Order in the event that the Order needs to be enforced. If the Order is not registered, it may take the local authorities longer to find it in a national database. Prior to registering the Order, the protected party should keep in mind that many states notify the abuser that the Restraining Order has been registered. As such, if a protected party does not want the abuser to be made aware of the state and/or county where he or she is currently residing, the party should find out if this is the practice of the particular state or county in question prior to registering the order. Posted by Robyn E. Ross, Esq.