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New bail rules may help domestic violence victims during divorce

The holidays can be stressful at the best of times, and one may feel a sense of relief as life returns to normal. For New Jersey residents who experience domestic violence, however, there is likely to be little relief from fear or pain. If an abusive spouse is arrested, he or she may be released on bail before the victim has the courage to take the opportunity to file for divorce.

A bail reform act that was signed into law two years ago came into effect in New Jersey on New Year's Day. It means that anyone charged with a non-capital crime, who is considered dangerous or has been accused of a violent crime, will be jailed without the option of bail until his or her trial. Such people could include those accused of being in violation of a restraining order for domestic violence, those who might seek to intimidate witnesses or worse.

This could give reassurance to victims who take the opportunity to escape from their abusers. With the fear of reprisals reduced, it may allow victims to consider how they really wish to move forward with their lives. They will also be at greater liberty to solicit help from agencies trained to offer the necessary support and advice.

Victims who decide that divorce is the way forward may feel encouraged by the tightening up of the laws regarding bail. New Jersey residents have a number of options available to them in order to keep unwanted attentions at a distance, and should seek to employ the ones best suited to their circumstances. With stricter consequences, restraining orders and similar tools used in cases of domestic abuse may be taken more seriously than ever by those upon whom they are imposed.

Source: Toms River, NJ Patch, "New Year Brings New Bail Rules For New Jersey", Karen Wall, Dec. 31, 2016

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