Get Help

If you believe you are in immediate danger,
call 911

To contact us:

Phone: 973-233-0111 or 732-535-6318 (Middlesex County)

Text: 732-535-6318

Email: gethelp@pfwj.org

What We Do

Partners provides free legal help to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with cases pending in New Jersey Family Court.

Close-up of young, attractive Latina woman in stress

Types of Cases

  • Final Restraining Orders (FROs) for Domestic Violence
  • Final Protective Orders (FPOs) for Sexual Assault
  • Modifications of FROs or FPOs
  • Related issues of:
    • Custody
    • Safe Visitation
    • Child Support
    • Relocation out of New Jersey
*NOTE: Partners does not handle divorce or child abuse cases. We also cannot assist with cases that are not related to family law, such as immigration, criminal, housing, or others.

How We Help

  • “Know your rights” consultations
  • Legal advice to help victims represent themselves in court in any county in NJ
  • Legal representation – an attorney to present cases in court for victims
  • Legal representation is only available for cases in these counties:
    • Essex
    • Hudson
    • Middlesex
    • Passaic
    • Union

*NOTE: Due to our limited resources, we cannot provide legal assistance to all who request it.*

Domestic violence is more than hitting. If your partner ever:

  1. Accuses you of cheating and being disloyal.
  2. Makes you feel worthless.
  3. Hurts you by shaking, restraining, hitting, slapping, choking, strangling, or kicking you.
  4. Intimidates and threatens to hurt you or someone you love.
  5. Threatens to hurt themselves if they don’t get what they want.
  6. Tries to control what you do and whom you see.
  7. Keeps you away from friends and family.
  8. Pressures or forces you into unwanted sex.
  9. Controls your access to money.
  10. Stalks you by constantly calling, texting, emailing, posting on Facebook or Instagram, or following you.

Then you are a victim of domestic violence. Please seek help by calling the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline at 1-800-572-7233.

Who We Help

To qualify for Partners’ services, you must:

  • Be a victim or survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault
  • Have a case pending in New Jersey Family Court
  • Meet our income guidelines – our guidelines are based on HUD median income figures for New Jersey. Please contact us to see if you qualify.

Partners does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability.

What to Expect

Call, Text, Fax, or Email Partners to speak with one of our client advocates. Our client advocate will ask you questions to determine if your case falls within our guidelines.

If your case qualifies:

  • A client advocate will schedule an appointment for an in-depth interview over the phone. Please schedule the interview for a time when you will have at least an hour of quiet, uninterrupted time.
  • Send us related documents before the interview such as your temporary restraining order and police reports.
  • An attorney will review the completed interview information and determine the type of legal help Partners will be able to provide.
  • A client advocate will contact you about the specific services that we can provide to you.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about Obtaining a Restraining Order

Domestic violence occurs when a current or former intimate partner or household member uses physical or sexual abuse, threats and/or emotional manipulation to exert power and control over you or a household member.
  • Abusers can hurt your feelings, your body, or both.
  • Abusers may threaten to hurt or kill you or someone you love.
  • Abusers may frequently use profanities or put you down.
  • Abusers may demand to know where you are going and who you are with.
  • Abusers may follow you in person or on-line.
  • Abusers may break or damage your belongings.
  • Abusers may hurt your body by punching, kicking, shoving, or strangling you.
  • Abusers may force you to engage in sexual acts when you do not want to.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or the police.
You can ask the police to call a professional interpreter over the telephone when they respond to your call for help. For a hearing or trial, the court is required to provide you with an interpreter. The police and court will not charge you a fee for asking for an interpreter.

There are two separate legal systems available to you: (1) You can call the police and file criminal charges, and (2) You can consider obtaining a restraining order from the court to protect you. Getting a restraining order is a two-step process. The order can include your children and other family members in need of protection.

You should consider obtaining a restraining order if you feel unsafe in your relationship or if someone who lives in your household is abusing you.

In most cases, the victim has the right to stay in a home they shared with their abuser and the court can order the abuser to help pay rent or mortgage expenses, even though they are not living at home because of domestic violence. If you do not feel safe staying in your home, you can seek assistance from your county domestic violence agency. They have safe and clean shelters where you can go with your children. Visit our Resources page for more information.

A temporary restraining order is a court order applied for by the victim and issued by a municipal (town) court or by the superior court that prohibits a person who is abusive from contacting, coming near, or hurting a victim of domestic violence. A temporary restraining order provides immediate protection to the victim and other designated people, such as children of the relationship and the victim’s family, until the court can have the hearing for the final restraining order.
You can obtain a restraining order if there are also criminal charges. If your abuser is released from jail or prison, a restraining order may help protect you.
A detailed description of your most recent incident or incidents of domestic violence, including how the defendant threatened you or hurt you. You should also include a list of all prior incidents of domestic violence including, if possible, when the incidents occurred.

You can get a temporary restraining order by going to:

  • The Family Court in your county during regular business hours.
  • Your nearest police station when the court is closed or if you are also filing criminal charges.

There is no fee to apply for a temporary restraining order and you do not need a lawyer to file for a temporary restraining order.

A final restraining order hearing will be scheduled within 10 business days after a temporary restraining order is issued.

No. After you file for a temporary restraining order, you do not have to communicate with your abuser anymore. You are not responsible to give your abuser a copy of the restraining order. For your safety, law enforcement (the local police or sheriff’s department) will give a copy of your temporary restraining order to your abuser (the defendant).
Report the violation to the police. A violation of a temporary restraining order by the abuser is a criminal offense and the abuser can be arrested for violating the order.

Your final restraining order hearing will be scheduled to occur in the Family Division of the courthouse in the county where you filed for the temporary restraining order.

A final restraining order is a permanent court order of protection that prohibits the abuser from abusing, contacting or being physically near to the victim. Final restraining orders may also protect your children and other designated family members. In New Jersey, a final restraining order remains in place for a victim’s lifetime and provides protection in all 50 states. Final restraining orders may be granted by a judge after both parties have an opportunity to present their testimony and evidence at a court hearing.

A final restraining order provides the following protection:

  • Prohibits the abuser from contacting you, coming near you, threatening you, or hurting you.
  • May protect your children and other designated family members.
  • Requires the abuser to stay away from your home, place of business, school, or other locations listed on the final restraining order.
  • Prohibits the abuser from purchasing or possessing guns or other weapons.

A final restraining order MAY also provide the following additional relief:

  • Exclusive right to stay in your home.
  • Financial support or bill payment.
  • Drug/alcohol evaluation and treatment.
  • Batterer’s counselling.
  • Return of property or replacement of damaged property.
  • If the victim and abuser share children, the court may provide for child support, safe visitation, and or/residential custody.

A violation of a final restraining order by the abuser is a criminal offense.

An attorney is not required at your final restraining order hearing. However, having an attorney can help you communicate with the court, gather evidence, and organize your testimony for trial. If you need more time to get an attorney you can ask for your case to be postponed. The legal word for postponed is “adjourned.”

*Nothing contained in the Frequently Asked Questions section is intended to be legal advice and should not be construed as such. For legal assistance, contact Partners or an attorney.

Steps to Get a Final Restraining Order

  • The plaintiff (the victim) and the defendant (the abuser) go to court and appear at a hearing.
  • During the hearing, both the plaintiff and the defendant tell the court what happened.
  • The plaintiff and the defendant can show the court evidence. Often times the plaintiff will show the court evidence of abuse, such as photographs of injuries, abusive text messages or e-mails, abusive voicemails or recordings, medical records, and police reports.
  • The plaintiff and defendant are both permitted to have witnesses testify during the hearing. Often times the plaintiff will have witnesses, such as police, family members, friends or neighbors, testify to observing abuse.
  • The judge hears both parties and decides whether to grant the plaintiff a final restraining order.