Muni-mail: What is a “Dating Relationship”? Mysterty Finally Solved! S.K. v. J.H.

[06/11/12 – 8:55 am] When the legislature enacted the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, it provided protection for victims of domestic violence who were in a dating relationship with their attackers. Unfortunately, the legislature did not define what a dating relationship is. That issue has now been resolved as a result of an Appellate Division decision from the other day captioned S.K. v. J.H. In its decision, the panel approved a series of factors that had been discussed in an earlier, published Family Court decision, Andrews v. Rutherford, 363 NJ Super. 252, 253 (Chn. Div. 2003).

The factors for the court to consider where there is a question about the existence of a dating relationship are as follows:

1. Was there a minimal social interpersonal

bonding of the parties over and above a mere

casual fraternization?

2. How long did the alleged dating

activities continue prior to the acts of

domestic violence alleged?

3. What were the nature and frequency of the

parties’ interactions?

4. What were the parties’ ongoing expectations

with respect to the relationship,

either individually or jointly?

5. Did the parties demonstrate an affirmation

of their relationship before others by

statement or conduct?

6. Are there any other reasons unique to the

case that support or detract from a finding

that a “dating relationship” exists?

Click here to download a copy of S.K. v. J.H.

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