Law Lessons from J.M.R. VS. J.L., App. Div., A-2798-11T1, November 8, 2012:
In Silver, supra, 387 N.J. Super. at 126, 128, the court held that a judge considering a complaint for a domestic violence restraining order has a “two-fold” task: “[f]irst, the judge must determine whether the plaintiff has proven, by a preponderance of the credible evidence, that one or more of the predicate acts set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19a has occurred”; and second, “whether a domestic violence restraining order is necessary to protect [a] plaintiff from immediate danger or further acts of domestic violence.”
Whether a restraining order should be issued depends on the seriousness of the predicate offense, see Cesare, supra, 154 N.J. at 402, on “the previous history of domestic violence between the plaintiff and defendant including previous threats, harassment and physical abuse[,]” and on “whether immediate danger to the person or property is present.” Corrente v. Corrente, 281 N.J. Super. 243, 248 (App. Div. l995). See also Peranio v. Peranio, 280 N.J. Super. 47, 54 (App. Div. l995); N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(a).
Moreover, “[b]ecause a particular history can greatly affect the context of a domestic violence dispute, trial courts must weigh the entire relationship between the parties and must specifically set forth their findings of fact in that regard.” Cesare, supra, 154 N.J. at 405. A defendant’s prior abusive acts should be considered “regardless of whether those acts have been the subject of a domestic violence adjudication.” Ibid.
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