Westport Family Law Attorneys Assist with Restraining Orders
Strong representation for parties to domestic violence allegations
No one should live under a constant threat of violence, especially from a member of their own family. Your safety and that of your children should be your paramount concern, and it’s important to know that help is only a phone call away. At Needle | Cuda, we help clients obtain restraining orders to keep them and their children safe. We know the process can be daunting, and the emotional issues involved with seeking this level of help are complex. However, sudden escalations in violent behavior can have disastrous consequences for you and your loved ones. When you are ready to take action, we are ready to help.
On the other hand, emotionally distraught individuals often hurl accusations of abuse, especially during highly contested divorces and child custody disputes. After decades of practice, we are well aware of innocent parties whose reputations were tarnished by false accusations, and we offer vigorous defense representation to clients who are unfairly made the target of restraining orders.
The process for getting a restraining order in Connecticut
Connecticut has two kinds of orders that are commonly referred to as restraining orders. The first is an Order of Protection, which a judge in the criminal court can issue after an arrest to last until the criminal case is decided. The second is a restraining order, which a judge in family court can issue upon complaint without an arrest being made. The family court issues restraining orders for domestic violence situations, so the person to be restrained must qualify as:
- Your spouse or ex-spouse
- Your parent, child, or other relative
- Someone you live with or used to live with
- Someone you have a child with
- Someone you are dating or used to date
- A caretaker providing shelter in his or her home to a person 60 years of age and older
If the targeted person qualifies, these are the steps for obtaining a restraining order in family court:
- File a petition — The family court has forms you must fill out with pertinent information. We advise clients on how to complete the forms so the judge has a basis to issue a temporary restraining order.
- Have a State Marshal serve the papers — The targeted person must receive a copy of the temporary restraining order and a summons to appear in court for a hearing on the matter. If the order commands the targeted person to leave your home, the marshal can enforce compliance.
- Attend a court hearing — Although a judge can issue a temporary restraining order upon your ex parte statement, the targeted person has a right to rebut the allegations you’ve made. As part of due process, the court holds a hearing within 14 days (or within seven days if the targeted person owns firearms) to determine whether a permanent restraining order is warranted.
- Renew your restraining order — If the court gives you a permanent restraining order, it can last for up to one year or until further order of the court. If you get a one-year order, you can ask for an extension before the order expires.
No matter which side of the issue you are on, you should seek advice and representation from an experienced family law attorney, especially to protect your rights during the hearing.
Protections available under a restraining order
Restraining orders are somewhat flexible, so judges have discretion to tailor them to your circumstances. Common provisions of a restraining order are:
- An order to stop the offending conduct
- An order to vacate the home
- An order prohibiting contact with the petitioner and the petitioner’s children
- An order of temporary support for the petitioner and/or the children
- An order to stay away from the petitioner’s home, place of work, and places the petitioner frequents
- An order to surrender firearms and ammunition in the targeted person’s possession
- An order prohibiting the targeted person from purchasing a firearm or ammunition
- An order restraining the targeted person from transferring or destroying property
The restraining order has the force of law, so if the targeted person violates any conditions, a judge can find him or her in contempt. Punishments include fines and jail time.
Contact our Westport, CT family law firm for straightforward counsel on restraining orders
If you are the victim of domestic violence in Fairfield County, or have been named as a targeted person of a restraining order, Needle | Cuda is ready to help. We provide highly responsive service and effective representation in all matters related to family court restraining orders. To reserve a consultation, call us today at 203-557-9500 or contact our Westport office online.