Domestic Abuse + Temporary Restraining Orders


New Canaan Domestic Abuse Attorney                  

Unfortunately, domestic violence remains a serious safety problem in Connecticut and throughout the United States. According to data cited by the Connecticut State Department of Children and Families, approximately 33 percent of women and 25 percent of men have been a victim of intimate partner abuse. Sadly, the true extent of the problem may even be higher than that. In fact, many experts believe that domestic abuse and intimate partner violence are systematically underreported.

At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, our New Canaan domestic abuse attorneys are committed to providing compassionate, nonjudgmental, and solutions-driven legal representation to our clients.

If you have any questions about domestic abuse and/or temporary restraining orders, we are here to help. To arrange a strictly confidential consultation with an experienced Connecticut domestic violence attorney, please do not hesitate to contact our New Canaan law office today.

An Overview of the Domestic Abuse Laws in Connecticut

Domestic violence is both a criminal and civil issue. A person who commits an act of domestic violence could be arrested and face serious criminal charges.  Potentially even felony charges depending on the nature of the allegations. Beyond possible criminal liability, the State of Connecticut has a wide range of laws and procedures in place designed to help protect the health, safety, and well-being of domestic violence victims. Here is an overview of some of the most important things to know about the domestic violence laws in Connecticut:

  1. Domestic Violence Law Cover Many Relationships: In Connecticut, domestic violence laws cover more than just spouses and intimate partners. These laws cover family members and household members. Among other relationships, this includes:
    1. Spouses
    2. Intimate partners
    3. Separated co-parents
    4. Parents/children
    5. Blood relatives
    6. Roommates.
  2. Domestic Abuse is Violence or Imminent Threats of Violence: Under Connecticut law (C.G.S. § 46b-38a), domestic abuse can take a wide range of different forms. The statute covers the following: “an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, including, but not limited to, stalking or a pattern of threatening.” By itself, verbal abuse may not rise to the level that it is covered by the statute—but it could if threats are made and/or there is a genuine danger of physical abuse.
  3. There are Often Family Law Ramifications: A victim of domestic violence has the right to seek a temporary restraining order against the perpetrator to protect the health and safety of themselves and their family members. For parents, domestic abuse protective orders (and related matters) can be especially complicated. Our New Canaan, CT domestic violence lawyers are here to help you navigate the law.  

Domestic Abuse and Temporary Restraining Orders in Connecticut

Understanding the Basics

Whether you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of domestic violence during your divorce or custody action, understanding your legal rights and options is of the utmost importance in protecting your family.

At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann in New Canaan, we listen to the facts of your case and carefully consider the best action plan for you and your family.  In Connecticut, the following civil domestic violence restraining orders/protective orders may be imposed:

  • A Temporary Restraining Order: Domestic violence laws are designed to be proactive. A person who alleges domestic violence has the right to seek an immediate temporary restraining order. This order can be put into place without delay. The alleged perpetrator does not even need to be notified ahead of time. A person seeking a temporary restraining order must allege that they are currently in physical danger. This order only remains in effect until the date that a full hearing can be held. Depending on the circumstances, the hearing will either be within 14 days or 7 days. As noted above, the alleged offender does not get a chance to present their case before a temporary order takes effect.
  • A Permanent Restraining Order: A permanent domestic violence restraining order will only be put in place after both parties have an opportunity to present their side of the case. To be clear, these orders are not truly “permanent”—they will last for up to one year. Still, the judge can extend this type of domestic restraining order as many times as deemed necessary to protect the victim.
  • A Family Violence Protective Order: Finally, Connecticut also has a third type of domestic abuse restraining order called a “Family Violence Protective Order.” This type of order can only be issued by a criminal court. In general, it is done when someone is arrested and charged with domestic violence. Technically, it is different from a civil restraining order. You may want to seek a permanent restraining order on top of a family violence protective order if you were the victim of a criminal attack by a partner, family member, or household member.

Application For Relief From Abuse/Restraining Order

Connecticut law provides that any individual who is subjected to a continuous threat of present physical pain or injury, threatening and/or stalking by another family or household member, may apply for relief from abuse with the Superior Court. The relief granted is typically called a Temporary Restraining Order, or “TRO.”

A TRO may be initially issued by the Court without a hearing, on an “ex parte” basis. However, if the terms of the continuation of the restraining order cannot be agreed upon by the parties and their counsel, a hearing before a Superior Court Judge will be required in order to extend the order and is typically scheduled within two weeks of the initial TRO application being granted.

Connecticut Family Violence Protective Order

If law enforcement officers determine that there has been a family violence crime committed, officers may arrest and charge such a person with the appropriate crime. A criminal protective order may be issued after the arrest.

What Is The Difference Between A Restraining Order And A Protective Order?

The main difference between a Restraining order and a Protective Order is that Restraining orders are granted by the civil/family court and can be issued without the accused person being arrested. Protective orders are issued after the accused has been arrested for committing a family violence crime.

Protective Orders may be part of a public record, due to the involvement of the police and criminal court. Court records of Restraining Orders filed in the civil/family court are not typically publicly accessible online.

How Long Does A Temporary Restraining Order Last?

The length of a TRO varies in each case, however, it is limited to a one-year period of time unless the applicant files a motion to extend the TRO, and the court makes a ruling to extend it.

Domestic Violence During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Judicial Branch has established a procedure to file applications for temporary restraining orders without coming to the courthouse. With an increase in vaccinations and the re-opening of the courts, this may or may not be an issue in the future.

If you have any questions about what you need to do to seek a temporary restraining order, please do not hesitate to give our New Canaan law office a call at 203-652-8018. We always stay up-to-date on all the latest legal and procedural developments in Connecticut.

How Our Connecticut Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Domestic violence should always be taken seriously. At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, we are committed to advocating for our clients with the highest level of care, sensitivity, and professional expertise. When you get in touch with our New Canaan law office, you will have a chance to consult with a New Canaan domestic abuse attorney who can:

  • Answer questions and explain your options during a strictly confidential consultation;
  • Gather and organize information and take care of all of the legal paperwork; and
  • Take immediate action to protect your health, safety, and legal rights.

Our firm provides personalized legal representation to clients. With an understanding of the challenges and complexities of domestic violence cases, we are focused on making sure that our clients' safety, well-being, and legal rights are fully protected. You can rely on our Connecticut domestic abuse lawyers for guidance and support during even the most difficult of times. 

Contact Our New Canaan Domestic Violence Family Lawyers Today

At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, our Connecticut domestic violence lawyers are compassionate and experienced advocates for people and families. We have extensive experience handling domestic violence cases. If you have questions about a domestic violence situation, the family lawyers at our law firm are here to help. We understand how sensitive and difficult these cases can be. Our attorneys are focused on doing what is right for our clients.

To schedule an in-person or virtual meeting with one of our New Canaan domestic abuse lawyers, please call 203-652-8018, or complete our online contact form. Consultations are always fully confidential. With an office in New Canaan, we provide family law services throughout the entire region, including in Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury, Fairfield, Greenwich, Stratford, Shelton, Trumbull, and Monroe.

The Family Law Firm of Healy + Eliot

The Family Law Firm of Healy + Eliot is a boutique firm devoted exclusively to the practice of family law, including divorce, alimony, child support, property distribution, child custody and access, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, modifications and enforcement proceedings.