When most people think of domestic violence and abuse, they most likely think of overt physical actions committed by one party against another. While such an action would certainly be considered domestic violence (given the two parties have one of the types of relationships described in the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA)), many people may not realize that many other actions such as emotional and economic abuse, harassment, and even damaging or the destruction of property can also be considered domestic violence.
In today’s article, we will focus specifically on how and when the destruction of property can be considered domestic violence, and the potential legal consequences associated with such actions including temporary and final restraining orders.
Mt. Olive Domestic Violence Attorneys Answer “Is the Destruction of My Property Domestic Violence?”
The NJ PDVA lists 18 different actions which, given a certain type of relationship between the involved parties, are considered acts of domestic violence. For a complete list of these 18 different domestic violence actions, please view our page on domestic violence.
However, as previously noted, in order for these actions to be considered domestic violence and not simply criminal acts, the person who committed the action needs to be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor and have one of the following relationships to the victim:
- A husband or wife
- An estranged husband or wife
- A divorce husband or wife
- Be living in, or at one point in time have lived in, the same household as the victim
- Any kind of romantic partner
- A parent to a common child
Simply put, if your neighbor destroys or damages your property it will be viewed as an act of criminal mischief and the matter will be decided by a criminal court. On the other hand, if a roomate destroys or damages your property, you have the option of filing for a domestic violence restraining order in order in addition to pursuing criminal charges.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order Attorneys Morris County, NJ
If a person believes that acts of domestic violence and abuse are being committed against them (or their children), protection from these actions can be sought through a temporary restraining order (TRO). TRO’s can usually be secured with allegations of domestic violence alone, and can grant immediate relief from abuse by:
- preventing the accused party from communicating with the plaintiff (and their family and employers as well in many situations)
- preventing the accused party from coming within a certain distance of the plaintiff ((and their family and place of employment as well in many situations)
- forcibly removing the accused party from a shared home (when applicable), even if that home is in the accused’s own name
However, TRO’s only last for about 10 days, at which point a final restraining order hearing will be held. Final restraining order hearings are extremely important for many reasons to both the accused party as well as the alleged victim, and it is highly recommended that anyone facing a FRO hearing retain the counsel of an experienced Morris County restraining order attorney as quickly as possible.
For more information regarding final restraining order hearings, what they entail, and why they are so important, please view our final restraining order page.
Damaging and Destroying Property, Chatham Domestic Violence Lawyers
Thanks to the unpublished decision in the recent case of H.C.F. v J.T.B, the idea that the destruction of property can be considered domestic violence was reaffirmed by the Trial Court as well as the Appellate Division.
This means that any actions which result in property destruction such as punching a wall or door, destroying an appliance or collectible, setting fire to valuables, etc etc can be considered domestic violence, regardless of whether the property in question is individually owned or jointly owned (as is the case with many marriages). So while criminal charges can be brought against the perpetrator of such actions in most circumstances, it may also be possible (given the right type of relationship between the involved parties) that a temporary restraining order is filed for and granted, something that can potentially result in a final restraining order being entered against the perpetrator as well.
Contact Our Morristown Restraining Order Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience successfully representing clients in all manner of family law matters (including domestic violence and restraining order hearings) in New Jersey and Morris County towns such as Chatham, Mt. Olive, Mendham, Morristown, Chester, Morris Plains, and Morris Township.
If you are suffering from any kind of domestic violence or abuse, or you have been falsely accused of domestic violence and abuse, our firm is prepared to provide you with the effective, knowledgeable, attentive, and compassionate legal service that you need and deserve during such delicate and important matters, especially when it comes to any kind of final restraining order hearing.
To speak with our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any kind of domestic violence or restraining order matter you may be facing, or any other kind of family law matter, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 828-0829.