Prevention of Domestic Violence Act harassment

When can one’s well intentioned conduct cross the line into a form of domestic violence under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act?  That was the question addressed by the Appellate Division in P. O’D v. J. O’D, where it affirmed the trial court’s entry of a final restraining order against the defendant mother under the PDVA based on the trial court’s finding that the wife harassed her ex-husband.  Two children were born of the marriage, and the parties’ Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) provided that the parties would equally share residential custody (2 or 3 weekdays and alternating weekends). 

The husband testified during a final hearing on a prior temporary restraining order that, starting in September 2007 for a 3-month period, the wife started calling him late at night and using profanity during their conversations. According to his testimony, there were a series of phone calls where the wife would keep calling until he would answer the phone. He further alleged, and the wife did not deny, that she started abusing alcohol at this time. On one night within the 3-month period, the wife threatened the husband’s well-being during her phone calls. A couple of days later, the husband was notified by the wife’s boyfriend that the children were in danger and that the husband should take them from her mother’s custody, which he did successfully. 

 

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