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Domestic Violence Protection Act and Move Out Orders

In 2010, Boyfriend (B) and Girlfriend (G) began a relationship.  Although B was married at the time, he set G up in her own apartment, paid the rent, and provided G with home furnishings.  According to G, B thought he could control G because he paid for everything.  He became very possessive and at times violent.  He tracked her cell phone and stalked her.

In 2011, B was arrested and later convicted of drug trafficking.  During this time, G managed B’s financial affairs according to his wishes.  Also, during this time, G purchased a condominium (condo).  She made the down payment from an employment settlement she had received, and made the payments on the condo from her paychecks.  B contributed nothing to the purchase, maintenance, or house payments of the condo.

In 2016, B was released from prison and moved in with G.  In 2017, B had G execute a quit claim deed for 50 percent of the condo, even though he had no financial interest in it.  G claimed that B forced her to sign the quit claim deed, and that she was afraid he would abuse her if she refused.

By 2018, G was so afraid of B that she moved out of the condo and into a small apartment.  According to her, B continued to stalk her and threaten her.  He would appear at her job and accuse her of having affairs with her boss.  He would show up wherever she happened to be, so G knew he was tracking her phone.

It got so bad that G drove into the police station after B followed her, and filled out a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO).  B said that G was stalking him, so he filled out at DVRO too.  He even had a picture of G with an AK 47 that she sent him on his cell phone.  (G stated in court that she sent him that picture to prove that she had been at gun promotional event.)

When the two DVROs were heard in family court, both sides presented evidence of stalking and physical abuse.  (The issue of the condo’s ownership was being heard in civil court.)  The judge believed G’s version of events, and specifically stated that he did not believe B’s version.  The judge ordered B to stay 100 yards away from G, not to contact her in any way, move out of the condo and allow G to move in to the condo.  B appealed believing the trial court overstepped its authority by evicting him from the condo.

The Appellate Court agreed with the trial court.

The Domestic Violence Protection Act (DVPA) was enacted to prevent domestic violence and sexual abuse and provide for the separation of the parties to the violence.

“Under the DVPA, a court is authorized to issue a restraining order enjoining a party from engaging in specific acts of harassment or abuse against a cohabitant or former cohabitant.

Further, the DVPA “…authorizes a court to issue a restraining order excluding a person from the “family dwelling” or “common dwelling of both parties…The court may issue an exclusion order only on a showing that: 1) the party who will stay in the dwelling has a right under color of law to possess the property; 2) the party to be excluded has assaulted or threatens to assault the other party; and 3) physical or emotional harm would otherwise result to the other party. …And finally, the court also has authority to issue orders determining the temporary use, possession, and control of real or personal property of the parties and the payment of any liens or encumbrances coming due during the period the order is in effect…”

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