In the recent unpublished decision of A.E.C. v. J.T., the Appellate Division confirmed that the separation of the parties following the entry of a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) should not be a dispositive factor for the court in determining whether or not to award permanent restraints. Plaintiff A.E.C. appealed the trial court’s denial of a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”) wherein it concluded that defendant J.T. had indeed committed assault but found that there was no need for permanent restraints as the parties had ended their relationship and separated from each other. This was despite plaintiff’s allegations that during past separations, defendant had repeatedly called her and that she was currently “living at an undisclosed location with her children because of continued fear for her safety and their safety”. The Appellate Division reversed and remanded to a new trial court finding that the “judge impermissibly concluded that plaintiff’s separation from defendant, something occasioned by defendant’s assault, demonstrated that she no longer needed the protections” of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.
Elizabeth M. Foster-Fernandez, Esq.By