On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FV-07-1588-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Baxter, Alvarez and Coburn.
Defendant appeals from a final restraining order issued pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35.
Plaintiff, a law school graduate, and defendant, a physician, began dating in May 2006 and had a child together on December 14, 2007. The relationship ended before the child was born.
On December 6, 2008, the parties arrived at the Caldwell police station for a transfer of the child to defendant pursuant to a visitation order. Plaintiff testified that during the transfer outside the police station defendant struck her. The judge found these facts:
So basically what I'm saying is I believe that this defendant struck her in the arm on two occasions and knocked her arm down, knocked the note out of her hand. I absolutely believe that. I also believe he harasses her tremendously over the phone and that it's endless and it will continue to be endless. So I believe her, I believe her mother [who also testified at the hearing].
Although defendant denied striking plaintiff, the record provides adequate support for the judge's finding in that regard. On the other hand, there was no evidence submitted during this hearing on the final restraining order that defendant had been repeatedly making any telephone calls at all.
The judge explained his legal basis for issuing the final restraining order as follows:
I find by a preponderance of the evidence that [the] predicate act took place, that being the striking of her arm, and the completely continuous harassing phone calls. I find it took place. I find there is a danger -- continue to take place. I believe she's in fear of this man. I definitely believe that. I believe these acts will absolutely continue unless I put a stop to it now.
So for all those reasons I am issuing a . . . permanent restraining order.
Defendant argues that "the trial court erred in finding that a predicate act took place." After carefully considering the record and briefs, we ...