On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Camden County, Docket No. FV-04-2636-10. H.S., appellant pro se. Respondent has not filed a brief.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 6, 2011
Before Judges Alvarez and Nugent.
Defendant H.S. appeals pro se from a final restraining order (FRO) entered pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35, on April 1, 2010.*fn1
The following facts, developed at trial, are relevant to our decision. Defendant and plaintiff B.J. had a dating relationship "[o]ff and on for five years." On March 25, 2010, the date of the incident that triggered plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order (TRO), defendant brought a floor jack, which her brother had borrowed, back to plaintiff's home. C.S. was visiting plaintiff at the time and was seated in plaintiff's living room.
It is undisputed that when defendant arrived, she and plaintiff spoke outside briefly regarding the item she was returning. Plaintiff shut the front door to his house behind him as he walked to defendant's car to remove the jack from the back seat. The parties had ceased dating approximately four to six weeks prior.
While plaintiff was retrieving the jack from defendant's vehicle, defendant peered through his front windows and saw C.S. seated inside. Subsequent events are disputed.
Defendant testified that she demanded that plaintiff tell her the woman's name, and after he refused, she let herself into the house, explaining she just "want[ed] answers." Plaintiff testified that defendant entered his home immediately upon seeing C.S. inside, then ran back outside to question plaintiff about who she was.
C.S. testified that when defendant "storm[ed] in the house," she demanded that C.S. identify herself. Defendant told C.S. that she was the "ex," and ran back onto the front porch. Defendant threatened to tear out C.S.'s hair, was yelling and crying, and told plaintiff that nothing he did would keep her away.
Both plaintiff and C.S. said that defendant threatened to ruin any future relationship that plaintiff might develop. Plaintiff testified that defendant actually told him he could obtain as many restraining orders as he wanted, but that it would not keep her away or keep her from destroying any possibility he might have of another relationship. When plaintiff told defendant he was calling the police, defendant left.
Plaintiff also testified that on at least two prior occasions, defendant had assaulted him. On March 28, 2008, defendant came to his workplace, and during the course of a confrontation, kicked and hit him. On November 7, 2009, plaintiff went to defendant's home, to return her key and, in response, she kicked and hit him until her brother physically pulled her off plaintiff. On the latter occasion, after ...