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Argued February 13, 2002

This appeal requires us to determine whether the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -33 (Domestic Violence Act or Act), authorizes New Jersey courts to issue domestic violence restraining orders when the victim has fled to New Jersey in order to seek shelter from abuse that occurred out-of-state and the abuser commits an act of domestic violence in New Jersey.

The trial court issued a Final Restraining Order (FRO) to Florinda Silva (Silva) based on a finding that her husband, defendant Noel Reyes, struck Silva at their residence in New York. The Appellate Division reversed, reasoning that New Jersey courts lack jurisdiction to issue an FRO based solely on an act of domestic violence occurring out-of-state. Because the record demonstrates that an act of domestic violence did occur in New Jersey, thus conferring jurisdiction on our courts, we reverse. We also hold that when the only act of domestic violence occurred out-of-state, New Jersey courts nevertheless may assert jurisdiction when the victim seeks refuge in New Jersey and the defendant pursues the victim in this State for the purpose of making contact with the victim.

 
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