On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, Docket No. FV-02-1249-10.
RECORD IMPOUNDED NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 8, 2010 - Decided Before Judges Ashrafi and Nugent.
Defendant F.R. appeals from the final and amended final restraining orders entered against him and in favor of his wife under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. We affirm.
After twenty-nine years of marriage, plaintiff left the marital home on November 15, 2009. On November 16, 2009, plaintiff filed a domestic violence complaint that stated:
11/15/2009 PLA STATES SHE LEFT THE MARITAL HOME AND LEFT DEF A NOTE. PLA STATES THE DEF SHOWED UP AT HER EMPLOYER THIS MORNING WANTING TO TALK TO HER. PLA STATES THE DEF WAS ESCORTED OUT BY A POLICE OFFICER. DEF THEN CALLED THE PLA AT WORK WANTING TO TALK TO HER. DEF WAS ADVISED NOT TO CALL BACK. DEF WILL CHECK THE MILEAGE AND THE GAS GAUGE ON THE CAR. DEF WILL CALL PLA AT WORK TO MAKE SURE SHE IS THERE. DEF WILL CALL HER BEFORE SHE LEAVES WORK AND TIMES HER AND WILL THEN CALL HER AT HOME. DEF WILL SCREAM, YELL AND ACCUSE PLA OF CHEATING IF THE MILEAGE AND GAS ARE WRONG. DEF CONTROLS EVERYTHING THAT THE PLA DOES.
Below the narrative section, the form contained the following preprinted language: "Which constitute(s) the following criminal offense(s). (Check all applicable boxes)." The box marked with a check was "harassment." In the section of the complaint stating "Any prior history of domestic violence reported or unreported? If yes, explain," the complaint stated, "Verbal, physical, mental & emotional abuse: Def controls Pla whereabout. Def blames Pla for it."
On November 17, 2009, plaintiff filed an amended domestic violence complaint in which she added specific instances of verbal and mental abuse that had occurred during the previous month, and numerous instances of emotional, physical, and verbal abuse that had occurred during the course of the marriage.
A judge granted a temporary restraining order that was served on defendant. A trial was conducted on December 10, 2009. Plaintiff and defendant were the only witnesses.
Plaintiff testified she and defendant were married on May 23, 1980, and had four children who now range in age from nineteen to twenty-eight. On November 15, 2009, plaintiff left the marital residence after tolerating years of control and abuse from defendant. Before leaving she wrote a note to defendant which stated, in part:
I'm sorry I had to leave this way. No family or friends know where I am or know that I have left. You have told me many times to get out and how I have destroyed your life. I can see because you tell me daily all you want is the 401k -- and then to have me gone. I can't give you that money because it is all I have and have left to start a new life. I hope you can understand what I have been saying daily is I need peace, no yelling, no fighting, no accusing me of everything under the sun; just peace.
Please give me some time before we talk if for both of us to stop and think what is the best way to go forward. And I wish you only luck and happiness and please let me have some ....
The next day defendant appeared at the school where plaintiff worked as a librarian. When security guards stopped him at the front door, he insisted on seeing someone inside, and the guards finally had to escort him to his car and make him leave. After he left, he "kept calling" the school. Plaintiff's co-worker explained to defendant that he could not call the school and should not call anymore. As the result of defendant trying to enter the school and then repeatedly calling, plaintiff was told that because she worked ...