domestic violence

How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help You Protect Yourself from Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is a good time to learn how a New Jersey divorce lawyer can help you protect yourself from domestic violence. This is a very important topic because when people tell their spouse they want a divorce, it is not unusual for the spouse to become aggressive or abusive toward them. If this happens to you, this serious problem should never be dismissed or ignored. Instead, you should know and be aware that you have options when it comes to domestic violence and divorce in New Jersey.

What is Domestic Violence, and is it Common?

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence is defined as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.” While domestic violence can occur in various ways, the main objective of this behavior is for one partner to try to control and have power over the other.

In 2020, the New Jersey State Police released their data on domestic violence nationwide. The data showed more than 60,000 reports of domestic violence, an increase of about 6% from the previous year.

How Many People Divorce Due to Domestic Violence?

A recent Business Insider and the University of Denver survey showed the most common reasons people get divorced. The survey found that 23.5% of the participants stated that domestic violence was one of the top reasons for divorce. Some survey respondents even gave detailed examples of the domestic violence they experienced in their marriages, including physical and mental abuse.

If you believe you are a domestic violence victim or think your spouse may react aggressively toward you after breaking the news that you want a divorce, please do not hesitate to contact a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. At the Zeigler Law Group, LLC, our team takes these situations very seriously, and we will do everything possible to ensure that you are protected and that you know and understand your rights throughout this process.

What Are the Legal Options for Domestic Violence in New Jersey?

If you have experienced domestic violence in New Jersey, you can file for a permanent or temporary restraining order against your spouse. If you and your spouse share children, you may be able to also file for a temporary custody order, which will ensure that your children will remain with you and away from the abuse for the time being.

There are several situations that qualify for temporary or final restraining order, including:

    • Assault
    • Sexual assault
    • Harassment
    • Stalking
    • Terrorist threats
    • False imprisonment
    • Kidnapping

How to Get a Temporary or Permanent Restraining Order in New Jersey

Are you or a loved one dealing with domestic violence? Contact us to find out how we can help.

Our New Jersey domestic violence lawyers are here to help you understand the legal options of your case. We can help you through the process of filing a restraining order, limiting, or entirely preventing the other person involved from contacting you in any way. We can also take actions to request temporary custody orders to protect children from exposure to further abuse.

If you want to request a temporary or permanent restraining order, you can choose which type of restraining order is best for you and let them know which one you prefer. If you claim domestic violence as a reason for the restraining order, the New Jersey Courts describe this as “crimes by people who are, or were, in a family or romantic relationship or have lived together.” This means that you and the person you claim acted violently toward you were or are currently married, have children together, are currently dating, or are cohabitating.

Temporary restraining orders prohibit the accused from seeing or contacting you until your court hearing. Here are the steps to file for a temporary restraining order:

    • Fill out an application at your courthouse or police station.
    • You will explain to the judge why you need a temporary restraining order at the courthouse. Then, the judge will decide whether you will receive a temporary restraining order. If you fill out the application at the police station, the officer will contact a judge to discuss your situation and decide whether a temporary restraining order will be granted.
    • The judge will schedule your next court hearing.

If you decide you want a permanent restraining order, the accused person will never be allowed to legally contact you or see you for any reason. If you ever decide you do not want the permanent restraining order, you must speak to a judge who will void the order. The following are the steps to file for a permanent restraining order:

    • Fill out an application for a permanent restraining order.
    • Attend a court hearing regarding the permanent restraining order. During this hearing, the accused individual will be present to defend themselves.
    • Make sure that you have a lawyer to represent you during this hearing.
    • You and your attorney will provide convincing evidence that domestic violence occurred.
    • The judge will listen to your story and decide whether you will receive a permanent restraining order.

How to Plan for a Safe Exit from an Abusive Relationship

Many people are in abusive relationships and unsure how to get out without being physically harmed. Therefore, you must carefully consider this process to ensure you have a safe exit from your abusive relationship. Some of the recommended steps that you can take to do this include:

    • Decide on where you plan to go once you leave. This may be with a sibling, parent, grandparent, friend, coworker, or a local shelter.
    • Determine how you may escape if need be. This means that you may want to look around your home and determine where exactly the phones are, which windows you may be able to open quickly, or if there is a door that will lead you outside without your spouse noticing.
    • Pack anything you need. This may be clothes, your children’s belongings and toys, your important documents, and keys to a vehicle.
    • Turn off any tracking apps if possible. This will ensure that your spouse does not know where you are going.

Strong Legal Defense for Domestic Abuse Clients

Are you or a loved one dealing with domestic violence?  Contact us to find out how we can help.

Under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, individuals are protected from all forms of domestic violence, including physical or emotional abuse and threats of violence. If you believe you have experienced domestic violence from a spouse, former spouse, partner, current or former household member, or the parent of your child or expected child, it’s vital that you reach out to an Ocean County domestic violence lawyer who can help.

Additionally, if you have been accused of this action it is equally important you seek legal protection ASAP.

What Happens During a Domestic Violence Case?

Most domestic violence cases are resolved without going to trial. Here’s what you can expect in a typical case:


  1. After the complaint has been filed, the defendant is ordered to go to court and plead either “guilty” or “not guilty.” If a second court date is scheduled after the arraignment, the defendant and his or her domestic violence attorney will appear before the judge for a pre-trial.


By this time, the prosecutor will have met with the defendant and his or her attorney to review the evidence that acts of violence have been committed against the petitioner. During the pre-trial, the prosecutor will recommend a particular sentence to the judge in exchange for either a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.”

If the defendant pleads “guilty” at either the arraignment or the pre-trial hearing, there will be no trial. However, if the defendant refuses the prosecutor’s offer during the pre-trial, then a date will be set for a trial.

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence in New Jersey

There are various resources available for victims of domestic violence in New Jersey, such as:

Call a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Today

At Zeigler Law Group, LLC, we are here to provide you with the legal support you need during this difficult time, offering open communication, answers to your questions, and a plan of legal action. Whether you are the victim or accused of committing this crime, our team of skilled New Jersey domestic violence attorneys are here for you. We are dedicated to providing sound legal advocacy and guidance to all our clients.

Divorce is already an emotional, stressful, and challenging process. Therefore, when you add domestic violence and abuse to the situation, you may begin to feel completely hopeless. However, with the help of a New Jersey divorce lawyer, you can find ways to protect yourself from domestic violence and seek the divorce you want and deserve. The divorce attorneys at Zeigler Law Group, LLC will review your legal options, lend a helping hand throughout the process, and ensure that you are protected from your spouse at all times. We have helped many clients with domestic violence and divorce in New Jersey, and we are available and prepared to assist you. When you feel ready, please call our office at 732-361-4827 or submit our online contact form to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

Contact Zeigler Law Group, LLC
Today To Get Started

Sonya K, Zeigler, Esq. and her team have a well-earned reputation for committed and fierce legal representation. Our firm is here to provide you with the best possible guidance. Call Zeigler Law Group, LLC, at 732-361-4827 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Tom’s River, Red Bank, Princeton, and Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.

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