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New Jersey Takes Domestic Violence More Seriously

It is not entirely uncommon for family law matters to involve the serious issue of domestic violence. Perhaps spousal abuse is what has motivated a spouse to seek a divorce. Domestic violence is also a relevant issue with regards to a court evaluating the best child custody situation for a high-conflict family.

So while a new legislative move in New Jersey is not about divorce in particular, it is still important to share on this blog. Governor Chris Christie has signed into law a measure that’s meant to better protect victims of domestic violence.

According to reports, Christie signed the bill last Thursday. The legislation has two primary goals:

Better protect victims of domestic violence

The new law addresses offenders who violate restraining orders that are out against them. When someone files to get an order of protection she should be able to feel that such a legal action will reasonably protect her. Too often, that hasn’t been the case, and this measure seeks to supply abuse victims with more faith in the system and protection against repeat violence.

Better hold offenders accountable for their actions

The main change in the system is that the new law will require that repeat offenders or those who violate restraining orders will not be able to so easily afford making bail. In the past, offenders have been able to pay as little as 10 percent of their requested bail.

Proponents of the new legislation thought it was too easy for offenders to buy their freedom. Getting out of jail may have been cheap for the offenders, but it often came at a significant price for their victims, including fear and repeat injuries. Now, offenders will basically need to pay the full amount in order to be released.

Divorce can be especially daunting for someone to seek if he or she is afraid of their estranged spouse. Perhaps this New Jersey legislation will provide unhappy and endangered spouses some security to move forward and file for divorce. Of course, if at any time during the divorce someone fears for her or her children’s safety, she should communicate that fear to authorities and her attorney.

Source “NJ domestic violence law signed by Chris Christie,” Nov. 13, 2011