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Anjum v. Aziz

April 9, 2008


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Monmouth County, Docket No. FV-13-1896-07.

Per curiam.



Argued March 11, 2008

Before Judges Skillman and Yannotti.

Defendant Asif Aziz appeals from a final restraining order entered by the trial court on June 27, 2007, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

On May 23, 2007, plaintiff Uzmina Anjum filed a domestic violence complaint alleging that defendant, who is plaintiff's spouse, threatened her on May 19, 2007, when he stated, "[w]hat I am going to do to you, you cannot imagine." Plaintiff alleged that she fled the marital home in fear of her life. She claimed that defendant "constantly beat" her and "threatened her continuously." The trial court entered a temporary restraining order that, among other things, prohibited defendant from returning to the marital home, having any contact with plaintiff or the parties' three children, and committing any future acts of domestic violence.

On June 22 and 27, 2007, Judge Paul A. Kapalko conducted a trial on plaintiff's application for a final restraining order. Plaintiff testified that she and defendant have been married since 1997. Three children were born of the marriage: two sons and a daughter. Plaintiff asserted that on Saturday, May 19, 2007, at around 9:30 a.m., she informed defendant that she was going to work and intended to leave the children at home. According to plaintiff, defendant stated that he would not look after the children and she would have to take them with her. Plaintiff said that she would do so.

Plaintiff asserted that she and defendant previously had argued about the family car. Defendant told plaintiff that if she intended to buy a new car, she would have to pay for her own insurance. He added that, from that time forward, plaintiff would have to pay half of all household expenses. Plaintiff told defendant that she was willing to pay "half of everything" but he should do half of the household chores and pay for the baby-sitter.

Plaintiff testified that defendant got angry and said that he was not going to do anything. He told plaintiff that she could do whatever she wanted to do. According to plaintiff, defendant also said, "[y]ou can't even imagine what I'm going to do to you." Plaintiff stated that she was scared. She left for work with the children. She dropped the sons off with the baby-sitter, and took her daughter to her swimming class. Plaintiff asserted that at about 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., she returned to the baby-sitter's house. The boys were not there and the baby-sitter told plaintiff that defendant had picked up the children and left.

Plaintiff did not locate her two sons until 10:00 p.m., when her daughter phoned defendant. He refused to say where he was but plaintiff listened in on the conversation and, from the sound of voices in the background, she believed that defendant was at his sister's house in Brooklyn. Defendant did not return home until 1:00 a.m. He had the boys with him. Plaintiff said that defendant had keys to the house but "banged [on] the door" and rang the bell "really loud." Plaintiff said that defendant "dumped the kids" and went to another room.

The following day, plaintiff had a class at her mosque. In accordance with their usual practice, defendant brought the children to the mosque. He left the daughter and departed with the two sons. Plaintiff explained that the parties' eldest son is autistic and the younger son is two and a half years old. Plaintiff said that she spent the day looking for the boys. On that day, plaintiff went to a shelter. On May 23rd, she filed her complaint and made an application to the court for a restraining order.

Plaintiff stated that she tried to return home but she was "too scared" from the incident that occurred the previous evening. She said that defendant had been threatening to throw her out of the house for a long time. She asserted that, in the Indian culture, defendant's statements meant that she would be thrown into the streets and would have to live like a beggar. Plaintiff maintained that, to her, defendant's statements meant that: she would have to live like a prostitute; no one would help her; defendant would take over the house; he would not divorce her; and he would not give her anything.

Plaintiff additionally testified concerning a prior incident that occurred on Saturday, April 28, 2007. On that day, plaintiff told defendant that she had to take the younger son to the doctor. She asked defendant to take the older son with him that day but defendant refused because he had to take the car to be serviced. According to plaintiff, the discussion got angry ...

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