What Can the Court Order in a Civil Restraining Order?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

There are three main types of restraining orders in Connecticut — also referred to as “protective orders.” The protective order that occurs in Family Court is called a Civil Restraining Order. Please read on to learn more about what the court can order in a Civil Restraining Order.

Background on Protective Orders

There are three types of restraining orders or protective orders in Connecticut: (1) Civil Restraining Orders (“Relief From Abuse”), (2) Civil Protective Orders, and (3) Criminal Protective Orders.

Civil Restraining Orders and Civil Protective Orders take place in civil courts (the Family Court and the Superior Court, respectively). This means that a judge can issue either regardless of whether the accused person (“respondent”) was arrested.

Civil Restraining Orders (“Relief From Abuse”)

A Civil Restraining Order provides relief from physical abuse, stalking, or a pattern of threatening from a family or household member. A Civil Restraining Order takes place in a Connecticut Family Court, which is a civil court.

Any family or household member subjected to a continuous threat of physical pain or physical injury, stalking, or a pattern of threatening may apply to the Superior Court for a restraining order. “Family or household members” are any of the following:

  • Spouses or persons who have a civil union
  • Former spouses or persons who a civil union
  • People related by blood or marriage
  • Those not related by blood or marriage living together as intimate partners (cohabitating)
  • People not related by blood or marriage who formerly cohabitated as intimate partners
  • Those who have a child in common, regardless of whether they have been married or cohabitated
  • People who have (or recently had) a dating relationship

What Can the Court Order in a Civil Restraining Order?

The court may issue an order it deems appropriate to protect the applicant and any dependent children or other people. A restraining order, whether issued ex parte or after a hearing, may include temporary child custody or visitation rights and provisions to protect animals. It may also prohibit the respondent from:

  • Imposing any restraint on the applicant,
  • Threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting, sexually assaulting, or attacking the applicant, or
  • Entering the home of the family or applicant

Financial Support

The Family Court is permitted to include certain financial support measures in its Civil Restraining Order when the petitioner and respondent are married or have dependent children in common.  Importantly, this occurs when no other financial order exists and the court finds it must provide for the safety and basic needs of the applicant or the children. If the court enters such an order at a hearing, it cannot modify it. In addition, the order must expire 120 days after the issue date or when a court enters a superseding order.

Financial Support Ordered Ex Parte

When issuing an ex parte order the court may:

  • Prohibit the respondent from taking any action that could result in necessary utility services or other necessary services related to the family’s or the applicant’s home being shut off;
  • Prevent the respondent from taking action that could result in the cancellation or change of health, automobile, or homeowners’ insurance policy coverage or designated beneficiary to the detriment of the applicant or any dependent children they have in common;
  • Prohibit the respondent from transferring, encumbering, concealing, or disposing of specified property the applicant owns or leases; or
  • Require the respondent to temporarily provide the applicant with an automobile, a checkbook, health documents, automobile or homeowners insurance, a document needed to prove identity, a key, or other necessary specified personal effects.

Financial Support Ordered at the Civil Restraining Order Hearing

At the hearing on the Civil Protective Order, the court may also order the respondent to:

  • make rent or mortgage payments on the family home or the home of the applicant and their dependent children;
  • maintain utility services or other necessary services related to the family home or the home of the applicant and their dependent children;
  • maintain all existing health, automobile, or homeowners insurance coverage without change in coverage or beneficiary designation; or
  • provide financial support for any dependent children, if the respondent has a legal duty to support them and the ability to pay.

However, the court may not enter any financial measures without sufficient evidence of a person’s ability to pay.

Next Steps

Unsure how a Civil Restraining Order might work in your case? We are happy to assist. Freed Marcroft’s first step, the Goals & Planning Conference is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals for your life. Once we discover your goals, we take all of our collective experience in the realm of divorce to build a customized strategy for you. Schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today, or contact us here.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC