Is any contact always a violation of a Restraining Order? Answer – No
Court’s can be fairly quick to issue a restraining order against a husband. But just because there is a restraining order in place, when you are also co-parenting, occasional contact may occur, and such contact doesn’t necessarily mean a violation.
20-2-9880 State v. V.C., N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (8 pp.) Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of a disorderly persons offense of contempt for violating a final restraining order issued under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Defendant and J.H. (John) had been in a relationship, they had two minor children together, and the relationship ended several years ago. The children were in the custody of the maternal grandmother. John enjoyed parenting time including “every Tuesday [and] Thursday from after daycare/school until 7 p.m.” On April 3, 2014, an FRO was entered that prohibited defendant from having any direct or indirect communication or contact with John. The incident that gave rise to the contempt charge occurred on Aug. 26, 2014. On that morning, John went to the children’s daycare at 7:15 a.m. He testified that he decided to take the children out of daycare because they did not want to attend a scheduled field trip. When he pulled into the lot, John saw defendant and her father sitting in a truck. Defendant’s father waved John over and told him he was not supposed to pick the children up until later. Defendant’s father testified that defendant never exited the truck and never spoke to John. While the trial judge reasoned that defendant caused her father to make “harassing communications” to John, the appellate panel found no credible evidence in the record to support that finding. Both John and the father testified that their communications consisted of an exchange as to when John was supposed to pick up the children. Such communication did not raise to the level of harassment. The appellate panel reversed, concluding that the findings made by the trial judge were insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant purposely and knowingly violated the FRO.