Life has taken an unexpected left turn over the course of the last few weeks. Many have become unemployed Those lucky enough to be working may have received a cut in pay or be working reduced hours. Apart from the financial impact of the current pandemic there are social losses as well. Most work places are closed, forcing those still employed to work from home. Twenty first century life is dynamic. We are not a country of couch potatoes; our kids have lessons, sports and activities. Most household have two working partners. The point is that COVID-19 has brought us closer together in close quarters for longer periods of time than usual.
Citizens are directed to shelter in place in New Jersey but, unfortunately, not everyone is safe in the household where they are to “shelter”. The “rat theory” posits that if you put too many people together in too small a space for too long a period of time, tempers are likely to combust. If your marriage was going through a difficult period before this pandemic, the stress of lost or reduced wages and close proximity may be catalyst for argument and possible violence.
If your spouse has been violent in the past or if there is pent up anger, rage or fear in your household, you certainly you need to be prepared to deal with the possibly of a violent incident. Let’s be honest: tempers are more raw when the release valves fail and now there is a far greater difficulty in finding neutral territory. You, also on edge, may have fewer coping mechanisms to deflect incoming domestic attacks.
If you are a victim of violence or you have been threatened or emotionally abused, it is important for you to know that you are still able to obtain protection. If your partner or someone else in your household becomes violent, call the police. If there is evidence of violence, the perpetrator will be arrested and you and you can file a domestic violence complaint and obtain a Temporary Restraining Order.
In addition, if you are the victim of violence or physical abuse, you are threatened with violence, or you are the victim of emotional abuse, you can file a domestic violence complaint in court. The Courts in New Jersey are still open and available to consider emergent matters, such as domestic violence complaints and can issue a restraining order. So help is available when you need it.
If you feel the need to escape your house because of the threat violence or actual violence during the normal court day from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. you can go to the courthouse in your county (you can find directions online) and tell them that you want to file a domestic violence complaint. You can also call an attorney to go with you to file a complaint and represent you in those proceedings. If violence occurs after those hours, call the police for help and they will assist you in filing a domestic violence complaint with a municipal judge. If there has been a history of domestic violence, you need to include all of that history in your domestic violence complaint, even if you never called the police before and even if you sought a restraining order in the past and it was either denied or dismissed. Include those instances of violence in your complaint. Take the time before something happens to think about and write out prior events of violence with as much specific information and you have including time and date and specific action.
If you can afford to hire a lawyer, research lawyers online or ask for a referral and arrange for a consultation with a lawyer. Firms such as this one, the law firm of James P. Yudes, A Professional Corporation, are able to consult with you in person, by phone or by video conference. Retain a lawyer and get their cell phone number. If you are in imminent danger of violence or violence has already occurred, call the police first and your lawyer second. If you need more resources, please click on this link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
We are going to get though this. Life will return to normal. You are probably doing everything that needs to be done to protect yourself from the virus. It is important to have a plan that makes you safe if there is Domestic Violence in your Family History.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, or you are accused of domestic violence, we at the offices of James P. Yudes, A Professional Corporation are here to help if you would like to discuss this further.