Things you should know before filing for a Civil Restraining Order in Connecticut
Should you apply for a Restraining Order?
If you have reason to believe that a family member, roommate, or someone you are or were dating will hurt you, you can apply to the Court for a Civil Restraining Order. A Civil Restraining Order is an Order of the Court that the individual, called the respondent, not contact by phone and/or in person. The Court can impose other conditions on the respondent depending on the parties’ circumstances.
Is a Civil Restraining Order the same as a Criminal Protective Order?
A Civil Restraining Order is not the same as a Criminal Protective Order. Criminal Protective Orders are imposed on defendants who have been charged with a crime. You can apply for a Civil Restraining Order regardless of whether or not the respondent has been charged with a crime or has been issued a Protective Order in criminal court.
Can you apply for a Restraining Order against anyone?
No. Civil Restraining Orders can be filed against those with whom you have a certain relationship.
Civil Restraining Orders can be imposed on the following individuals:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Relatives, including parents and children
- Current or former roommates
- Your child’s parent, regardless of whether you lived together or were married
- Someone with whom you are or were dating
- A caretaker of an elderly individual (over the age of 60)
What if the person from whom I am seeking protection does not fall into one of these categories?
If you are fearful of an individual who does not fall into one of these categories, you may be able to apply for a Civil Order of Protection. If you have any questions about how to apply for a Civil Order of Protection, please visit our website at www.koffskyfelsen.com.
How can a Civil Restraining Order protect you?
A Civil Restraining Order can prohibit someone from hurting, threatening or stalking you. This includes hitting, pushing, kicking, biting, scratching or any other contact that causes physical harm.
In certain situations, you can ask for Orders of Maintenance. Orders of Maintenance last for 120 days from the date they are issued or until a judge enters new orders. You can apply for Orders of Maintenance when the other party is your spouse, parent of your minor child/children and/or roommate.
An Order of Maintenance may require the respondent to allow you to access:
- a vehicle
- your checkbook
- documentation of health, automobile, or homeowners insurance
- identification documents (i.e., license or passport)
An Order of Maintenance can prevent the individual from:
- shutting off utilities for the home
- cancelling or changing health, automobile, or homeowners insurance
- selling, hiding or disposing of property
- failing to pay rent, mortgage payments or utilities
- failing to provide financial support for children
How can I get a Restraining Order?
Fill out an application.
There are many forms that go into applying for a Restraining Order. These forms and additional information can be found on the Connecticut Judicial Website.
Below are documents you may need to fill out when applying for a Restraining Order:
- Application for Relief from Abuse (#JD-FM-137). This is where you provide names, addresses and dates of birth of the parties involved in your case. You also need to notify the Court if the individual against whom you are seeking a Civil Restraining Order possesses guns.
- Affidavit for Relief from Abuse (#JD-FM-138). This is a sworn statement telling the judge why you need a Civil Restraining Order. It is important to provide thorough and accurate information that shows the judge there is a need to for the Order to be entered.
- Request for Nondisclosure of Location Information (#JD-FM-188). If you are fearful of the respondent having your information or location, this form prevents your contact information from being disclosed .
- Restraining Order Service Respondent Profile (#SMC-2). This provides information about the party against whom you are seeking a Civil Restraining Order. This helps the marshal who will be serving the Restraining Order identify and find the individual.
Do you need to fill out separate forms for your children?
If you have children under 18 and are asking the Court to have them live with you, you should also fill out an Affidavit Concerning Children (#JD-FM-164).
The Court may give you temporary custody of the children until the Civil Restraining Order expires. If you want permanent custody orders, you will need to start a separate custody case in Family Court.
If the court does NOT give you temporary custody, you can start a separate custody case. Contact a family attorney if you have any questions about applying for custody of your children.
File the Restraining Order Application.
File your completed forms at the clerk’s office at the courthouse that serves the town where you live or where the other individual lives.
The clerk will give your forms to a judge. The judge will then review and issue temporary ruling by the end of that day. Most likely the judge will issue a temporary Restraining Order that goes into effect immediately and lasts until your hearing. If you want the temporary Order to last beyond the court hearing, you must go to court on the hearing date and tell the judge why you are afraid of the respondent and what you need to ensure your protection. After this temporary ruling, the judge will order a hearing for the Civil Restraining Order.
Once a Restraining Order application is filed and reviewed:
- The respondent must receive notice of the hearing at least 3 days before the hearing date.
- If the respondent has guns, a hearing will be scheduled within 7 days from the date the judge signs the temporary Restraining Order.
- If the respondent does not have guns, a hearing will be scheduled within 14 days from the date the judge signs the temporary Restraining Order.
Have a marshal serve the Restraining Order Application to the respondent.
If the judge grants a temporary Restraining Order or orders a hearing, the clerk will give you back the original papers and copies. You will then need to ask a State Marshal to deliver and serve a copy of these papers on the other person. The marshal will serve the papers for free.
To find a list of marshals, you can contact the clerk’s office and the clerk will provide you with a list.
Important: You MUST have the marshal serve the papers on the other person. If you don’t have the other person served and they don’t have notice of the hearing, you case will not be heard. If this happens, you can ask the Court to extend the temporary Restraining Order for 14 days so the marshal can deliver the papers. If the extension is granted, the clerk will prepare papers for the marshal to serve.
Prepare for your hearing.
Make sure you provide your attorney with any information that supports your application for a Restraining Order. These documents may include:
- phone messages
- text messages
- arrest or incident reports
- medical records.
If someone has information or evidence that supports your application for a Restraining Order, notify that person of the court date so they can attend and testify on your behalf.
If you know a witness (such as a family member, neighbor or police officer) has information that would be helpful to your application but are concerned they may not be willing to attend or testify at the hearing, your attorney can issue a subpoena. A subpoena is a court order that says the witness must go to your hearing.
You will have to get a marshal to serve the subpoena. It must be served 18 hours or more before the hearing, so make sure to tell your attorney as soon as possible if there are witnesses you want him or her to subpoena on your behalf.
Meet with a Family Relations representative.
You and the respondent will likely be required to each meet with a Family Relations representative before the hearing. The Family Relations representative will determine whether an agreement can be reached between the parties so that a hearing will not be necessary. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Family Relations representative will make a recommendation to the judge about whether a Restraining Order should issue and if so, what conditions should be imposed.
If you and the respondent reach an agreement, the Family Relations representative will put the agreement in writing and give it to the judge. Then the judge will make sure that both parties:
- Read and signed the agreement
- Agree to and are satisfied with its terms
- Enter into the agreement of their own free will
- Want the judge to make the agreement a Court Order
If you and the respondent cannot come to an agreement and/or the respondent is not present, you will have a hearing in front of a judge who will issue a ruling on the application for a Restraining Order.
At the hearing, the judge will review all evidence, documents and any of other relevant items and will decide whether or not to grant the Restraining Order.
If the judge grants your application for a Restraining Order:
- The clerk will give you a certified copy of your Order. Make several copies and keep one with you at all times. Keep a copy in your car, at work, at home and at your children’s school or daycare.
- If the respondent did not attend the hearing, the clerk will send them a copy at the address listed on your application a temporary Restraining Order.
- The Court will notify the police departments where you live and work and where the respondent lives.
What happens if the respondent violates the Restraining Order after it is Granted?
- If you are in danger, call 911!
- Call the police and show them your Order.
- File a Motion for Contempt (#JD-FM-173)
If you have any questions about how to apply for a Restraining Order, of if have been served with a Restraining Order and need representation, contact our attorneys at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC at 203-327-1500.