The Appellate Division opinion of A.M.C. v. P.B, released for publication on October 21, 2016 finds that a Trial Court misapplied the two-prong test for determining whether the issuance of Final Restraining Order is necessary (set forth in the landmark domestic violence case Silver v. Silver which requires in its second prong that the Court find that a domestic violence restraining order is necessary to protect a victim from future abuse). The Trial Court had found that the defendant had perpetrated acts of domestic violence, in this case, the assault of the victim on two separate occasions in a three- week period, including a physical assault that took place to prevent the victim from leaving the marital residence. But then determined that a Final Restraining Order was not necessary because it was not necessary to protect the victim from further acts of domestic violence because they believed that the parties’ relationship had ended when the victim left the marital residence because there were no children of the relationship and the fact that the defendant had no violated the TRO (which had not been served upon him) after the victim left the marital residence.
The Appellate Division found in A.M.C. that the inherent violent nature of the acts against the victim, that were done to prevent her from leaving, along with the history of domestic violence and threats of further violence rose to the level of such acts that are “self-evident” of the need to protect the victim from further acts of domestic violence. As such, the Appellate Division reversed the decision of the Trial Court and found that the victim was entitled to a Final Restraining Order.
This case helps to narrow the broad reading of Silver that sometimes leaves victims of domestic violence without protection, by giving more weight in the Silver analysis to cases involving acts of domestic violence that are inherently more violent in nature.
Domestic violence proceedings have serious implications for both the victim as well as the person accused of committing domestic violence. Our office handles domestic violence cases and has worked with pro bono domestic violence organizations in both Mercer and Hunterdon County. Contact Georgia Fraser, Esq. at Fraser Family Law Office, LLC. for a consultation to discuss your domestic violence matter. (609)223-2099.