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Legal Information: New Jersey

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of January 8, 2024

What types of restraining orders are there? How long do they last?

In New Jersey, there are two types of restraining orders:

Temporary restraining order (TRO)
When you file a complaint for a restraining order, you can ask for a temporary ex parte restraining order (TRO) to be issued immediately. A judge can grant you a TRO if s/he finds that it is necessary to protect your life, health, or well-being. The order will last until the hearing for a final restraining order, which is generally scheduled within 10 days.1 (An “ex parte” TRO means that the judge will make this decision based only on the information you provide, without the abuser being in court and without prior notice to him/her.)

If you cannot be physically present in court, a judge can issue a TRO upon:

  • your sworn testimony or complaint; or
  • upon the sworn testimony or complaint of a person who represents you if you are physically or mentally incapable of filing personally.

The judge must believe, however, that there are sufficiently urgent (exigent) circumstances to excuse your failure to appear personally in court.2

Note: If you need immediate protection when the courts are closed (regular courthouse hours are usually M - F, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm), you can:

  • file at the municipal court (if it is open); or
  • call your local police department or 911.3

Generally, there is an “on call” municipal court judge who can issue you a TRO and schedule the court date for the final restraining order hearing. If a municipal judge denies you the TRO, you can re-file your petition in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court when the court reopens based on the same incident.3

Final restraining order
After a hearing in which you both have an opportunity to tell your side of the story through testimony, evidence, and witnesses, a judge can grant you a final restraining order. A final restraining order has no end date and can last forever – or until one of one of the parties files a legal motion in court asking the judge to end or modify (change) the order and the judge agrees.4

1 N.J. Stat. §§ 2C:25-28(a),(f); 2C:25-29(a)
2 N.J. Stat. § 2C:25-28(h)
3 N.J. Stat. § 2C:25-28(f),(i)
4 N.J. Stat. § 2C:25-29(d)