Jennifer's Law Offers Domestic Violence Victims New Protections in Connecticut
Attorney Alexander Cuda (Partner at Needle|Cuda: Divorce and Family Law) was interviewed in this in-depth news story covering the Implementation of Jennifer's Law (a law named after both Jennifer Farber Dulos and Jennifer Magnano -- two, highly publicized victims who lost their lives to Domestic Violence in Connecticut.)
Attorney Alexander Cuda, Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association's Family Law Section.
Jennifer's Law was signed by Governor Lamont in June of 2021. Jennifer's Law provides expanded protections for victims of domestic violence who file for restraining orders against their abusers. The law is meant to create a more efficient process for potential victims, but faces the immediate challenge of immense back-logs and scheduling delays plaguing the Connecticut Family Court system due to Covid-19. Over the last eighteen (18) months Connecticut Family Courts had limited operation (prioritizing emergency matters); modified their rules and procedures; and grappled with inherent technical and practical complications of hearing certain matters virtually (via video conferencing). Simply put, it is very difficult to get matters scheduled in front of Connecticut Family Court Judges.
While emergency motions like restraining orders and custody applications are going through more quickly, it will take longer to see how Jennifer’s Law plays into complex custody and divorce cases, according to Divorce and Family Law Attorney Alex Cuda. That’s because of a serious case backlog due to that COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been very much been a challenge for litigants, for lawyers, for the courts to be able to hear pending claims in a timely fashion," said Cuda, "so in terms of protecting people with Jennifer’s Law, that’s a significant concern in terms of its implementation.”
Cuda said the Connecticut Bar and the CT Judicial Branch are working together to find ways to alleviate the log jam.
“It’s a shame to see that law or any law not be able to protect people the way it’s intended just because somebody can’t get into court. For months and months and months, at this point, it’s dragging on into well over a year in some instances," said Cuda.