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New Jersey Judge Extends Restraining Order Protection To Unborn

A New Jersey Superior Court judge has ruled it permissible for pregnant women to obtain a single restraining order that extends to their unborn child. While domestic abuse carries serious consequences for all victims, who are often women and children, the unborn are placed at an even higher risk of long-term damage from trauma. However, the law previously required women to return to court after giving birth to seek protection for a newborn.

In the decision, the judge stated that domestic violence is a “grave threat to the family, particularly to women and children.” The judge further stated that women should not be forced to return to court just after giving birth for protection against an already acknowledged abuser. The specific case involved a pregnant teen whose disagreement with the father of her child led to violence. However, the ruling sets a new precedent for New Jersey mothers.

According to the attorney for the pregnant teenager, all pregnant women faced with domestic abuse may be able to benefit from the ruling. The law does not change the legal status of the fetus, yet the New Jersey Right to Life executive director referred to this ruling and the girl’s efforts to protect her unborn child in a positive manner. Any restraining order against abusers sought during a pregnancy will not apply until after childbirth.

It is possible to receive a court order for protection in cases of physical abuse. However, certain types of evidence are required, and the demand for evidence increases when the abuser is also related to the victim’s children. A domestic violence attorney may be able to provide guidance and help in the collection of damages stemming from abuse or form a strong defense for an individual accused of abuse.

Source: New Jersey (nj.com), “Women can seek restraining orders for unborn children, NJ court rules“, Salvador Rizzo, May 03, 2013

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