On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division-Family Part, Warren County, FV-21-365-01.
Before Judges King, Cuff and Winkelstein.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cuff, J.A.D.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: November 8, 2001
In this appeal, we review a final restraining order entered pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. The order was entered after defendant admitted that the acts in the complaint had occurred. This appeal raises important issues concerning the manner in which undisputed incidents of alleged domestic violence are treated. We reverse.
On February 2, 2001, plaintiff Mary B. Chernesky filed a domestic violence complaint against defendant Frank S. Fedorczyk.
In the complaint, plaintiff alleged that
ON 2/1/01 AT 7:30PM THE DEFENDANT CAME TO VICTIM'S KITCHEN DOOR TO BRING BACK PARTIES' YOUNGEST CHILD AND STARTED TO YELL AT PLAINTIFF AS TO WHY THEIR CHILD DOES NOT LISTEN TO HIM. DEFENDANT HELD ONE HAND ON THE DOOR FRAME AND HIS OTHER HAND ON THE DOOR, PREVENTING PLAINTIFF FROM ESCAPING THE CONFRONTATION.
A temporary restraining order issued and the hearing on plaintiff's application for a final restraining order was scheduled for February 8, 2001.
On February 8, both parties appeared before a Superior Court Judge. The case was called, the parties identified themselves, the judge inquired how many witnesses would be presented, and then stated as follows:
THE COURT: Are you disputing the allegations in the complaint?
THE COURT: No? You're admitting to an act of harassment as [it] is defined under the ...