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Case Law Review for the Week of April 28, 2014

C.C. v. T.W.C., Appellate Division, May 2, 2014, Unreported Decision: In this Appellate Division case, the Court was confronted with an appeal from a denial of a request for entry of a Final Restraining Order. The trial court had concluded that in the midst of an argument between a husband and a wife, who were in the process of obtaining a divorce, regarding the use of a car, (a) the trial court must be cautious in granting a restraining order in the context of a divorce and (b) there was no showing of a purpose to injure. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's decision citing the relevant inquiry as follows:

"First, the judge must determine whether the plaintiff has proven, by a preponderance of the credible evidence, that one or more of the predicate acts set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19a has occurred. [W]hen determining whether a restraining order should be issued based on . . . any of the predicate acts, the court must consider the evidence in light of whether there is a previous history of domestic violence, and whether there exists immediate danger to person or property.The second inquiry, upon a finding of the commission of a predicate act of domestic violence, is whether the court should enter a restraining order that provides protection for the victim. Although this second determination . . . is most often perfunctory and self-evident, the guiding standard is whether a restraining order is necessary, upon an evaluation of the factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29a(1) to -29a(6), to protect the victim from an immediate danger or to prevent further abuse. Rather, as the judge found, the incident amounted to no more than a battle of wills, a tug of war...we defer to the judge's finding that the evidence established only a dispute between a couple in the midst of a breakup, disagreeing over the use of an automobile." [citations omitted]

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