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690 Flatbush Avenue West Hartford, CT  06110-1308

860 236-9350             800 856-6400  toll free     860 523-9101  fax

27 Holmes Avenue Downtown Waterbury 203 756-6100

 

Restraining Orders in Connecticut

    No one should be hit or threatened with violence by their spouse.  Unfortunately, domestic violence sometimes occurs between spouses, especially when their relationship is breaking down.  Connecticut family law allows victims of domestic violence to obtain restraining orders to help protect themselves from domestic violence.

    Restraining orders are available in Connecticut to anyone who has been subjected to physical pain or injury, or threats of pain or injury, by a member of their family or household or by someone whom they are dating or have dated.

    The form for obtaining a restraining order, called an Application for Relief from Physical Abuse, is available at any Connecticut civil or family courthouse and is also available online.  The form includes an Affidavit, which is a statement signed under oath by the person requesting the restraining order (the applicant) that explains the physical abuse or threats of abuse that have occurred.

    The application and affidavit usually will be reviewed by a divorce judge the day it is filed (or the next day if it is filed late in the day).  If the divorce judge feels the affidavit shows that the person needs to be protected, the judge will order an immediate restraining order.  The family law court will also schedule a hearing within 14 days to allow the person against whom the restraining order is issued (the respondent) to come to court to try and prove that the order is unnecessary.

    The restraining order takes effect when it is personally served on the respondent by a marshal.  The marshal will also send copies of the restraining order to the police departments of the towns where the parties live and where the applicant works.

    At the hearing, the judge may extend the restraining order for up to 6 months if the parties' testimony and other evidence shows that the applicant has been subjected to a continuous threat of physical pain or injury.  If the judge feels that the testimony and other evidence does not show this threat, the judge will cancel the restraining order.

    A restraining order will prohibit the respondent from:

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Imposing any restraint upon the person or liberty of the protected person.

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Threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting, sexually assaulting or attacking the protected person.

    A restraining order may also prohibit the respondent from:

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Entering the family dwelling or the dwelling of the applicant.

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Having any contact in any manner (such as phone, letter, e-mail) with the protected person.

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Coming within 100 yards of the protected person.

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Entering the protected person's place of employment.

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Harming any animals owned or kept by the protected person.

    If the protected person and respondent have minor children together, the restraining order may also:

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Provide the children with the same protection that the order provides to the applicant.

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Give the applicant temporary custody of the children.

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Limit the respondent to specific visitation times with the children.

    Connecticut family law treats violation of a restraining order as a serious crime.  Violation of a restraining order is a Class D felony punishable with up to 5 years in prison.

    Violating the order by entering or remaining in a building or any other place in violation of the order is first degree criminal trespass punishable by up to 12 months in prison.

    In a criminal case involving domestic violence, the court will usually issue a protective order, which is similar to  a restraining order.  Violation of a protective order is also a crime (Class D felony punishable with up to 5 years in prison).

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