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N.T v. A.T


March 29, 2011


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Monmouth County, Docket No. FV-13-0817-09.

Per curiam.



Submitted March 8, 2011

Before Judges Yannotti and Espinosa.

Defendant appeals from an order entered by the Family Part on April 29, 2010, which denied his motion for reconsideration and vacation of a final restraining order (FRO) entered by the court on December 3, 2008, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. We affirm.

This appeal arises from the following facts. In November 2008, plaintiff and defendant were involved in divorce proceedings. They had two daughters, who were eleven and five years old at the time. As a result of an order entered by the court in February 2008, plaintiff was residing in the marital home with the two children, while defendant was living elsewhere.

On November 6, 2008, plaintiff filed an application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) pursuant to the PDVA. She alleged that on November 3, 2008, defendant called her home, spoke to their daughter, threatened to kill her sister and said that "something was going to happen" to plaintiff. The court entered the TRO and set the matter down for a hearing on plaintiff's application for a FRO.

Following an evidentiary hearing, the court found that defendant had committed acts of domestic violence, specifically the making of terroristic threats, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, and harassment, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4(a). The court also determined that issuance of a FRO was warranted, finding that such relief was necessary to protect plaintiff from immediate danger and further abuse. The court entered a FRO dated December 3, 2008. Defendant appealed and we affirmed the FRO in an unpublished opinion. N.T. v. A.T., No. A-2175-98 (App. Div. Aug. 27, 2009).

In February 2010, defendant filed a motion seeking: reconsideration of the FRO, recusal of the judge who entered the FRO and a determination that certain writings and communications would not constitute violations of the FRO. By order dated April 29, 2010, the court denied the motions for reasons set forth in a statement appended to the order.

In that statement, the court pointed out that this was defendant's fourth motion for reconsideration or modification of the FRO, which had been affirmed on appeal. The court stated that defendant's latest motion for reconsideration was untimely and, moreover, there was no basis for reconsideration. The court additionally found no basis for recusal, and refused to offer an advisory opinion as to whether certain writings (including letters to Senators, members of Congress and the President of the United States) would constitute violations of the FRO.

Defendant appeals and raises the following arguments for our consideration:

Point One:

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(d) the court may dissolve or modify a final restraining order "upon good cause shown[.]"

Point Two: In rendering [its] decision the Trial Court failed to weigh the credibility of Plaintiff against that of the Defendant and the Good Faith of the Plaintiff.

Point Three: The Words Alleged In The Domestic Violence Complaint Do Not Constitute An Act of Domestic Violence Cognizable Under The Prevention of Domestic Violence Statute. Point Four: The Family Part Was Without Jurisdiction To Enter An Order Pursuant To The Prevention Of Domestic Violence Act As The "Other" Parties Were Not "Household Members" And Are Not Residents of This Country And State As Defined By the Act 1.

Point Five: The Court's inadequate decision considering the motion late for consideration while ignoring N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(d) and [Carfagno v. Carfagno], 288 [N.J. Super.] 424 (Ch. Div. 1995).

We are satisfied from our review of the record that these arguments "are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion[.]" R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We accordingly affirm the court's April 29, 2010, order substantially for the reasons set forth in the court's statement of reasons.



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