Appealing a Temporary Restraining Order

If a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued against a Defendant, New Jersey does provide an avenue to allow an appeal of the Temporary Restraining Order prior to the Final Hearing. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-28(i) provides, in relevant part, that “an order for emergency, ex parte relief shall be granted upon good cause shown and shall remain in effect until a judge of the Family Part issues a further order. Any temporary order hereunder is immediately appealable for a plenary hearing de novo not on the record before any judge of the Family Part of the county in which the plaintiff resides or is sheltered if that judge issued the temporary order or has access to the reasons for the issuance of the temporary order and sets forth in the record the reasons for the modification or dissolution.” (emphasis added). In simpler terms, if a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued against a Defendant, a plenary hearing (similar to a trial) can be heard before a Family Division Judge who either issued the original Order or has access to the reasons for the issuance of the Order.

The process for requesting this emergent appeal is as follows: The party requesting the appeal shall complete the “Appeal of Ex Parte Order” form and submit same to the Court for consideration. If the application for an appeal is granted, an emergent hearing will be scheduled with adequate notice to both parties to appear and the issues to be addressed. If the Temporary Order is modified or dissolved, the Judge will set forth the reasons on the record. Otherwise, the Final Restraining Order hearing will proceed as initially scheduled.

The standard for granting a Temporary Restraining Order is whether it is necessary to protect the Plaintiff’s health, safety or wellbeing. This standard provides limited availability for an appeal. Therefore, an appeal of a Temporary Restraining Order prior to a Final Hearing is rare and usually only done in exceptional circumstances. For example, if the Temporary Restraining Order limits or prohibits parenting time, an emergent appeal may be necessary.

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