Recently the Honorable Lawrence Jones, J.S.C., was presented with an issue not uncommon in the domestic violence court, i.e., should the court grant a restraining order to a complainant who baits a defendant into committing an act of domestic violence? In an instructional opinion, the court answered this question “no.” R.C. v. R.W., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (Law Div. 2015).

After a four-year relationship, and two children, M. (male) and F. (female) became estranged; they both moved out of their apartment and decided to live separately. One day, M. attempted to confirm his suspicion that F. was seeing another man, by grabbing F.’s cellphone (although technically in M.’s name, historically F. had sole use and possession of the phone). After discovering ongoing communications with another man, M. called F. a “whore” and told F. to return the Buick, which although in M.’s name F. had always used for herself and their children. When F. objected, M. threw a brick through the rear windshield of the Buick. “In response [F.] impulsively” threw a brick and a Sony PlayStation at and damaged M.’s Nissan. Although the Nissan was in M.’s name and used exclusively by him, the PlayStation, which had originally been purchased for M., was used so much by the children that when F. left M. she took it for the children.

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