Ex-Husband’s Emails and Phone Calls Earn Him a Restraining Order
By Snyder & Sarno on August 31, 2015
In L.I.B. v. D.M.B., the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s decision to enter a final restraining order against the ex-husband for harassing and stalking his ex-wife. His behavior violated the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), and the restraining order was necessary to protect the ex-wife.
For a final restraining order to be entered under the PDVA, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant committed at least one of fourteen offenses under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19(a). Harassment and stalking are numbers thirteen and fourteen on this list, respectively. Once the offense is proven, the plaintiff must show that a restraining order is necessary for her protection.
Over a period of a few months, the ex-husband continuously made phone calls and sent emails to his ex-wife, both at work and at home. Additionally, he followed her car to the train station, and he followed her in New York Penn Station. He also parked his car next to her and let her know that he knew where she was. After these incidents, a temporary restraining order was entered against him. Before the former couple returned to court to determine whether a final restraining order was necessary, the ex-husband continued his harassment.
At trial, the ex-wife and her friend testified as to an occasion in which the ex-husband followed them. The judge determined that both women were credible, while the ex-husband was not. He noted that the ex-husband’s acts constituted stalking and harassment, and that these acts created fear in the ex-wife. As a result, he granted the ex-wife’s request for a final restraining order.
The ex-husband appealed this decision, contending that the judge denied him due process and a fair trial. The appellate court affirmed the judge’s ruling. It agreed that the ex-husband’s repeated communications caused annoyance and alarm to the ex-wife. On top of that, his “repeatedly committed acts” were committed to alarm her. Finally, the intended purpose of his communications was certainly to harass or annoy her.
In addition, the trial judge was correct that the ex-husband stalked his ex-wife, since he “maintained a visual and physical proximity to her.” Following her car caused her emotional distress. A final restraining order was necessary to protect her from future harm and more domestic violence, since she was fearful for her safety.
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