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Current Court Information During COVID-19


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Current Court Information During COVID-19

Información Actual Del Tribunal Durante COVID-19

 

Temporary Restraining Orders Still Available During COVID-19

 

If you are experiencing domestic violence, Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO’s) are available during COVID-19 to protect you. If you are in imminent danger, call 911 immediately. During the pandemic, all court staff and judges are working remotely. To account for this, TRO’s are currently being processed through local police departments. To begin the process in obtaining a TRO, call your local police department for their safety procedures.

When you call the police department, you will be offered the support of a Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) Advocate from Safe+Sound Somerset. (If you aren’t offered DVRT support, request that one be contacted.) DVRT Advocates are available via telephone to talk with the survivor to answer questions and provide clarification about survivor’s rights and domestic abuse laws. DVRT Advocates explain the restraining order process, and assist in assessing immediate needs for shelter, safety planning and children’s safety.

legal_advocacyThey also provide referrals to our Legal Advocates, which is especially important if a temporary restraining order is granted and a court appearance is necessary in the future to obtain a final order of protection. Our Legal Advocates are currently accessible by telephone and can provide support, court prep, resources and information on the current court process in a trauma informed way. 

If a survivor obtains a TRO from a police department, Domestic Violence court staff will call the plaintiff with the TRO and ask how the survivor may be proceeding. The options available to the survivor at this point are to dismiss the TRO or proceed in seeking a Final Restraining Order. Court staff will instruct the plaintiff on remote court proceedings, which can be clarified with S+SS’s Legal Advocates if not completely clear to the plaintiff/survivor. To connect with a Legal Advocate, call or text our 24/7 hotline at 866-685-1122.

  • Dismissals – If the TRO complaint is being dismissed, the court staff will instruct the plaintiff to call the Safe+Sound Somerset hotline (866-685-1122) prior to the court date. A Legal Advocate will speak with survivor to explain the Cycle of Violence, Power & Control Wheel, and discuss a safety plan prior to the dismissal.
  • Seeking a Final Restraining Order (FRO) – The courts are working remotely and FRO procedures are being assessed by the judge and court on a case by case basis as to whether or not to proceed at this time. Of primary concern, ensuring the plaintiff’s safety and security is paramount for a remote trial. Additionally, due to the complexity of reviewing evidence, securing subpoenas, and the final restraining order trials themselves, cases may be delayed as the public health crisis continues.

All questions about remote court procedures and concerns about FRO trials should be directed to the Domestic Violence court staff at the Somerset County Court House by calling 908-332-7700, ext. 13007. If there is a need for an interpreter, this request must be made in advance by informing the DV court staff so they can make accommodations for an interpreter.

While deciding whether to dismiss or seek a final restraining order, survivors/plaintiffs also have the option of amending and adding more information to their temporary restraining order. The Domestic Violence court staff can be called to make these arrangements. At this time during COVID-19, the three reasons to amend a TRO are as follows:

  1. Adding additional information into the predicate (or original) domestic violence act;
  2. Adding additional information into prior history; and
  3. Adding the children on the restraining order.

All of the above information is subject to change as the warranted as the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic evolve. Please check with the S+SS’s Legal Advocates (24/7 call or text hotline 866-685-1122) or the DV court staff (908-332-7700, ext. 13007) for the latest information.


Resources

Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 Call and Text Hotline……….866-685-1122

Somerset County Court House…………………………….908-332-7700

         Family Division………………………….…..Ext. 13730

         Domestic Violence Team………………..Ext. 13007

         Ombudsman Office…………………..……Ext. 13240

Somerset County Office of Victims Witness…………..908-575-3300

 

Somerset County Police:

For emergencies, call 911

Bedminster…………………………………………….908-234-0585

Bernards…………………………………………..……908-766-1122

Bernardsville………………………………………….908-766-0037

Bound Brook……………………………………….…732-356-0800

Branchburg……………………………………….…..908-526-3830

Bridgewater…………………………………………..908-722-4111

Far Hills……………………………………….…..……908-234-1192

Franklin…………………………….………..…………732-873-5533

Green Brook………………………………………….732-968-1188

Hillsborough…………………….……..…………….908-369-4323

Manville………………..…………….…………………908-725-1900

Montgomery…………………..…………………….908-874-3333

North Plainfield…………………………………….908-769-2937

Peapack Gladstone……..….….……………..…908-234-0626

Raritan…………………………….……………………908-725-6700

Somerville…………………………………….………908-725-0331

South Bound Brook………………….……………732-356-0087

Warren………………………….………………………908-753-1000

Watchung…………………….……………………….908-756-3663