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
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:
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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