Connecticut law allows persons in certain dire situations to apply to the courts for orders to assist in their protection. Any family or household member who has been subjected to a continuous threat of physical pain or physical injury, stalking or a pattern of threatening may submit an application for relief from abuse to the Connecticut courts. Any person who has been the victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking may instead apply for a civil protection order provided such person has not obtained any other order of protection arising out of such abuse, assault, or stalking, and does not qualify for a more standard restraining order (i.e. without the requirement of being a family or household member). For ease of reference, these two types of orders will be referred to below jointly as “Restraining Orders,” although it is important to note the distinction between the two in determining which type of order may apply to your situation.
A restraining order can be an important part of an overall plan to address issues of safety and domestic violence, but usually should not be the only plan. This strategy should be carefully coordinated with counsel and often with domestic violence counselors, and support from friends and family members as may be appropriate. It should also be carefully considered whether a restraining order is the right remedy for the situation, for example in terms of whether it fits the legal criteria, whether it might in fact make the situation worse, or whether going to the police is a better or complimentary option.
If you believe you are in immediate danger to your health and/or safety, you should call 911 immediately and consult with legal counsel later.
Obtaining a restraining order involves filing an application with the court, including a sworn affidavit as to the facts which support the application. In doing so, legal counsel can be critical in helping present the application to meet the requirements necessary for such an application to be granted. The judge receiving the application will make an initial “ex parte” ruling on the papers as to whether the restraining order is immediately granted. The order will then need to be served on the other party. A hearing will be held in short order for each side to present evidence and testimony in support of whether the restraining order should in fact remain in place. The remedies offered by a restraining order can include orders that the other party stay away from, not contact, and otherwise not harass or bother the protected party. In certain situations, protective financial orders can also be obtained. Such orders may also protect minor children of the applicant, and animals owned by the applicant.
If a restraining order application has been brought against you and it has misstated or twisted the facts, then you will also benefit from effective legal counsel to defend against such an order. It is unfortunately sometimes the case that a party to a divorce, for example, thinks that a restraining order will give them additional legal leverage in the matter even though one is not appropriate. With the help of legal counsel, that improper attempt to exploit this application process can instead land with a resounding “thud.” Such efforts can backfire on a party seeking to misuse for personal gain a mechanism intended to protect vulnerable persons who truly need it. It may take the assistance of counsel to assist with an accurate presentation of the facts to the court to help ensure that justice is done, one way or the other.
The lawyers of Needle | Cuda have the experience, compassion, and tenacity to assist with the prosecution or defense of applications for relief from abuse and civil protection orders. Don’t let such an important matter be decided without able counsel by your side.
Alexander J. Cuda is a highly respected family and matrimonial law attorney. With numerous published articles and speaking engagements, Alex’s leadership in family law is well-known. He has been named one of the “Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in Southern Connecticut” by such organizations as the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, and AVVO (2017-2023). In addition to his prolific divorce litigation practice, Attorney Cuda also handles complex divorce appeals. Attorney Cuda volunteers to help victims of domestic violence at the Greenwich, CT YMCA and is passionate about fighting for expanded child support for qualifying special needs children.