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S.M. v. G.M.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 14, 2013

S.M., Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
G.M., Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 29, 2012

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Ocean County, Docket No. FV-15-2345-11.

James N. Butler, Jr., attorney for appellant.

S.M., appellant pro se.

Before Judges Graves and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Defendant G.M. appeals from a final restraining order (FRO) entered on July 7, 2011, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Based on an incident that occurred on June 15, 2011, plaintiff S.M. filed a domestic violence complaint and received a temporary restraining order.[1] At trial on July 7, 2011, plaintiff testified she and defendant had been married for six years and had two young children. Plaintiff also testified they were "arguing all the time, " and on June 15, 2011, defendant began yelling and calling her names after he found money in her pocketbook that plaintiff's family had given her "for emergency situations."

According to plaintiff, defendant wanted to know where the money came from, because he had not given her any money, and he started calling her names and "lunging" towards her as if to "punch [her] on the face." Plaintiff testified:

[E]very time when he [did] that, you know, by reflex you go backwards. And then when I was doing that, he was calling me like, "You get scared, bitch, " and, "You are a sissy. Now you get scared, " this and that, all these names and stuff, and I'm a scumbag, that I'm not working and he is taking care of me, he is giving me money, this and that. Anyway, he was asking me all the time where I got the money. I told him . . . I got it from my family for emergency purposes . . . . So I was really, really scared when he is trying to punch me in the face, but he wasn't touching me until this point that he punched the refrigerator and broke the refrigerator's egg shelf with the eggs on it and everything was spilled on the floor. And when I see him doing this, you know, he is actually physically giving harm to the things around, I just . . . took off from the house, went to my neighbor to get her help to, you know, take the children out of the house because it's a very, very dangerous environment for me and for my children.

Plaintiff also described other acts of domestic violence and explained that she had dismissed a prior FRO, because defendant was attending an anger management program and she "wanted to give him another chance."

On the other hand, defendant denied he lunged towards plaintiff, threatened to punch her, or damaged the refrigerator. According to defendant, plaintiff called him "every name underneath the sun"; she threatened to call the police to get him "out of the house"; and she told him that she got the money "from her boyfriend." Defendant testified he "[n]ever ever put [his] hand on [plaintiff]."

The trial court found there was "a history of domestic violence" between the parties and concluded a FRO was necessary to prevent further abuse. The court's ...


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